President Xi Jinping said on Friday he wants more cooperation with Turkmenistan on energy, state media reported.
Turkmenistan, a Central Asian nation of six million people, is China's single largest supplier of piped natural gas.
"Natural gas cooperation is the cornerstone of the China-Turkmenistan relationship," Xi told Turkmenistan's President Serdar Berdymukhamedov, who is in Beijing on a two-day visit.
Mainland media reports of their meetings did not give any specific details of future energy cooperation between the two countries.
Xi and Berdymukhamedov also discussed energy cooperation when they met last September on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Uzbekistan.
China has been buying more Turkmen gas. For the first 11 months of 2022, China's imports of Turkmen gas were valued at US$9.3 billion, up from US$6.79 billion in the whole of 2021, according to mainland customs data.
The mainland is estimated to have imported 23.03 million tonnes of gas from Turkmenistan in the first 11 months of 2022, according to Rystad Energy, equivalent to more than 50 percent of China's piped gas imports.
Turkmen gas is pumped to as far as the nation's eastern coast via three trunklines spanning 1,833 kilometres and passing through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Both countries are pushing ahead with a planned fourth pipeline – the 1,000-km D line which also links Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan – which will eventually lift the annual supply capacity from Central Asia to 85 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year from the current 55 bcm, state media reported.
At Friday's meeting Xi and Berdymukhamedov agreed to elevate bilateral ties to a "comprehensive strategic partnership".
This would place Turkmenistan in the same diplomatic category as about 30 other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Australia and Venezuela. (Reuters)