Xinhua: Intervew: B&R Initiative to boost Kyrgyzstan's development: minister

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BISHKEK, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative will give Kyrgyzstan a new impetus for future development and strengthen the friendship between Kyrgyzstan and China, the country's economy minister said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Arzybek Kozhoshev will attend the Belt and Road Forum, which will be held in Beijing on May 14-15 and gather at least 28 heads of state and government.

USEFUL INFORMATION PLATFORM

"I am glad that this forum will cover all the main aspects of cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the high-level participants will air weighty opinions on important issues," he said.

He expressed confidence that the forum will be a useful information platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities in implementing the proposal.

It will also be a useful information platform for creating prerequisites for international cooperation within the initiative, and strengthening partnership among regional countries to achieve the objectives of the initiative, he added.

Kozhoshev said that the Silk Road Economic Belt, part of the initiative that also includes the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, has long connected Kyrgyzstan with China in a tangible manner, and will strengthen bilateral cooperation in such fields as transportation and communications, infrastructural construction, manufacturing, trade and service industry.

"Kyrgyzstan, located in an important place of the Eurasian continent, is an important country on the ancient Silk Road and an inalienable participant in the joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt," he noted.

Since this initiative was declared, Chinese-Kyrgyz infrastructure cooperation has developed rapidly, the minister said, citing the construction of the Datka-Kemin power transmission line and the opening of two oil refineries, among many others.

COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT PLAN

The Kyrgyz official also said that the Belt and Road Initiative is not just a transit transport project, but a comprehensive economic development plan for the states of Eurasia.

"If we look at the map, we can see that it runs through the busiest economic corridor with a huge potential, along which there are more than 60 countries ... and their economies are worth about 21 trillion U.S. dollars in total, which is ... 29 percent of the world," he said.

Kozhoshev said that although Kyrgyzstan is a small country on the Silk Road, it has tremendous opportunities for itself and other countries like China.

He explained that part of Kyrgyzstan's motivation to implement the Silk Road Economic Belt project lies in the fact that it will provide cost-effective and safe transport routes connecting Europe and Asia and going through Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

"With the development of transport and logistics corridors, Kyrgyzstan can become an important bridge connecting production and consumption potential in Europe and Asia," Kozhoshev noted.

He also said the country is interested in synergizing the Silk Road Economic Belt with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), a bloc Kyrgyzstan officially joined in August 2015.

"It should be noted that at present, the Eurasian Economic Union is intensively developing its trade and economic agenda on the Asian vector ... while defining a place for China in it," he said.

FUTURE COOPERATION WITH CHINA

Concerning Kyrgyzstan's cooperation plans with China, Kozhoshev said China, the world's second-largest economy and one of the nearest neighbors of Kyrgyzstan, has become an important market for the agricultural products and tourism service of Kyrgyzstan.

The Kyrgyz economy minister encouraged Chinese entrepreneurs to conduct production in his nation, which was given the European Union's status of General System of Preferences on Jan. 27, 2016. Now products certificated as "Made in Kyrgyzstan" have the opportunity to be delivered duty-free to the EU market.

The minister said with the growing demand of Chinese consumers for healthy and high-quality food, Kyrgyzstan can become a supplier of organic products, and is ready to cooperate with Chinese entrepreneurs to produce environmentally friendly and organic products.

Green economy should become a brand of Kyrgyzstan, Kozhoshev said, adding: "This trend towards a green economy that gained weight in China and has understanding in Kyrgyzstan would be an ideal embodiment of the Silk Road Economic Belt."

The minister said his nation expects to receive more favorable investments from China for large-scale infrastructure construction.

Speaking of bilateral relations, Kozhoshev said China and Kyrgyzstan are good neighbors, good friends and reliable partners.

"Our friendship is not situational, not for a year, not for two, but for ever and ever," he said, adding the long-term, stable and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries is in line with the interests of both sides.

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