14 Apr 2020 21:51

Cargo traffic between Kyrgyzstan, China resumes via Irkeshtam crossing after talks between two national leaders

BISHKEK. April 14 (Interfax) - One checkpoint at the Kyrgyz-Chinese border has reopened for goods traffic, the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said.

"On April 14, following the talks [between leaders of Kyrgyzstan and China], it was agreed with China that the operation of the Irkeshtam checkpoint at the Kyrgyz-Chinese state border would be resumed solely for cargo traffic between the two countries," the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry press service said in a statement on Tuesday.

The sides will consider resuming the Torugart checkpoint's operation, depending on how the epidemiological situation in the region will develop further. Earlier restrictions for the two countries' citizens crossing the border between Kyrgyzstan and China are still in effect, it said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov spoke by telephone to Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss potential resumption of cargo shipments across the joint border closed due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Citing negative effects of the virus on the macroeconomic situation, the Kyrgyz leader suggested contemplating a possibility of relaxing and extending the repayment of the republic's debt to China, the Kyrgyz leader's press service said.

China traditionally closed its borders for the period from January 24-30 in view of Lunar New Year celebrations. But given the coronavirus infection outbreak, Beijing later decided to keep the border closed after the period expired.