(EnergyAsia, September 15 2014, Monday) — Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon and his visiting Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping were in Dushanbe city last Saturday to jointly launch two major energy projects to further integrate Central Asia with the world’s second largest economy.

The leaders officially marked the start of construction of the Tajikistan section of Line D of the natural gas pipeline network linking China and Central Asia from 2016. The 1,000-km-long Line D has the annual capacity to deliver 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas from the fields of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to China.

Rahmon and Xi also oversaw the first-phase completion of the Dushanbe Number 2 power plant and the start of its second-phase construction to meet the rising electricity demand of Tajikistan’s capital city and its surrounding area.

Describing Line D as a symbol of China-Tajikistan friendship, Xi said it will contribute to Central Asia’s economic development and political stability as well as help revive the old Silk Route.

Xi was in Dushanbe to attend the 13th annual Heads of State summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which counts China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as members. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observers while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

Held on September 11 and 12, the summit focused on trade and security issues with member states pledging to deal with the threat of separatism, religious extremism and terrorism to protect regional peace and security.

The summit coincided with US President Barack Obama’s declaration of war against the Islamic State (ISIS) and order of additional sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Established in 2001, the organisation is planning to accept India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia as full members while it deliberates over Iran’s application. The enlarged group could end up representing half the world’s population with control over about 20% of its oil reserves and half its natural gas.