Chinese Defense Minister to Visit Turkmenistan

Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe is to visit Turkmenistan in late April-early May. This has been deduced from decisions taken on April 9 this year at a meeting of Turkmenistan’s Extraordinary Commission to Combat Infectious Diseases. has a copy of the commission’s decisions.

Photo credit: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

The document says that arrangements should be made for the arrival of the military attaché to Turkmenistan’s embassy in China on April 23 and his departure on May 3. The attaché’s working trip home is timed to coincide with the visit of a delegation led by Wei Fenghe. 

Open sources have not reported preparations for the defense minister’s visit. However, on March 25 China’s Defense Ministry announced that Wei Fenghe had talked by video link to his Turkmen counterpart Begench Gundogdyyev. Wei Fenghe declared China’s readiness to reinforce strategic ties and practical military cooperation between the countries.

Turkmenistan’s Extraordinary Commission to Combat Infectious Diseases was set up after the global COVID-19 pandemic began in spring 2020. It has not been announced though that the commission’s purpose is to tackle the pandemic. Officially Turkmenistan’s authorities insist that coronavirus has not entered the country, although doctors, patients, and relatives of the dead have from the very beginning been reporting numerous cases of infection, on condition of anonymity. 

The commission’s decisions on tackling the spread of coronavirus are not reported officially. Members of the public learn about restrictions only when they personally come up against a ban or regulation. has already managed twice to unofficially obtain a list of decisions: in August 2021 and January 2022. now has its third list. To read more about the decisions of the commission, see’ Russian-language website.