Category Archives: Tajik-Chinese relations

Tajikistan Secures New Chinese Loans and Investment

On June 7, Tajikistani President Emomali Rahmon returned home from a week-long tour of China. The tour included a five-day state visit followed by Rahmon’s participation in the 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing. Following the trip, the Tajik President’s office announced that ten new deals signed in Beijing would bring Tajikistan about $1 billion in new Chinese investment, loans and aid. Experts suggest that the new deals will increase China’s economic clout in Tajikistan, giving Rahmon more leverage in dealings with Moscow.

As part of the deals inked during the visit, Beijing has pledged to invest some $600 million to build a large cement plant in Tajikistan’s southern district of Shahritus, on the border with Uzbekistan. When completed, the plant is expected to produce three million metric tons of cement annually, using local limestone reserves. According to Rahmon’s press service, the plant will be a joint project between the Chinese government-run National Materials Group Corporation and the state-owned Tajik Aluminium Company (Talco) (president.tj, June 7). Eager to break its dependence on cement imports, Dushanbe previously negotiated similar deals with Tehran and Islamabad (news.tj, June 11, 2011; June 1). However, joint projects with Iran and Pakistan have taken too long to get off the ground, leading Tajikistan to seek Chinese investment instead.

Beijing has also pledged to build a coal-driven combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. Although negotiated over a year ago, the $200 million project stalled because of disagreements over the plant’s technical specifications. Following Rahmon’s return from Beijing, it was announced that Chinese specialists will begin the construction of the plant “within the next several days” and will complete the project within a year. The CHP plant project is part of the Tajikistani government’s effort to use the country’s coal resources in tackling power shortages. China is also helping Tajikistan’s state-owned cement factory in Dushanbe and a number of other enterprises to switch from imported natural gas to local coal (president.tj, June 7; news.tj, April 28, 2011).
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Filed under Energy, Industry, Tajik-Chinese relations, Tajikistan

Tajikistan Cedes Disputed Land to China

Tajikistan has agreed to cede a fraction of its territory to neighboring China in a bid to settle a border dispute that dates back more than a century. On January 12, the lower house of the Tajik parliament voted to ratify the 2002 border demarcation agreement, handing over 1,122 square kilometers (433 square miles) of mountainous land in the remote Pamir Mountains (www.asiaplus.tj, January 12). The ceded land represents about 0.8 percent of the country’s total area of 143,100 square kilometers (55,250 square miles).

Tajik Foreign Minister, Khamrokhon Zarifi, hailed the border deal as a “great victory” for Tajik diplomacy, noting that China had previously claimed about 20 percent of the country’s territory (Shabakai Yakum TV, January 12). The territorial dispute dates back to 1884, when a border demarcation agreement between the Qing dynasty China and Tsarist Russia left large segments of the frontier in the sparsely populated eastern Pamirs without clear definition. At the time of independence, Tajikistan inherited three disputed border segments, constituting about 28,500 square kilometers (11,000 square miles), which China and the Soviet Union had been unable to resolve. In 1999, Tajikistan and China signed a border demarcation agreement, defining the border in two of the three segments. Under the 1999 deal, Dushanbe ceded about 200 square kilometers (77 square miles) of land to Beijing (http://www.ca-oasis.info/oasis/?jrn=109&id=817).

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Filed under Borders, Foreign affairs, Tajik-Chinese relations, Tajikistan