26.01.2022 – 21:39
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the five Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Leaders of the six countries held a virtual summit on Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary, laying further groundwork for deepening China-Central Asia ties.
Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the virtual summit in Beijing and said China stands ready to work with Central Asian countries to build a closer community with a shared future.
Xi has on various occasions called for closer cooperation between China and Central Asia, particularly to boost the economy and trade, uphold regional peace and security, and promote democracy in international relations.
code of success
President Xi pointed out Tuesday that the key to successful cooperation between China and the five Central Asian countries is mutual respect, good neighborliness and friendship, solidarity and mutual benefit.
He said these principles are valuable experiences and shared wealth for the countries, and serve as political guarantees for stable and enduring relations between China and the five countries, as well as a source of strength for friendly exchanges in the future.
China and the five Central Asian countries have achieved solid and fruitful results over the past three decades. China’s trade with Central Asian countries has grown more than 100-fold during the period, the Commerce Ministry said on Monday.
Over the 30-year period, Chinese direct investment in the five countries has exceeded $14 billion, according to data released by China’s Commerce Ministry in January.
The five Central Asian nations are all participating in China’s proposed New Silk Road initiative – the so-called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI has supported Central Asian countries in their post-pandemic recovery, the World Bank noted in a report.
The Chinese president on Tuesday also reiterated China’s commitment to helping the five Central Asian countries pursue a development path on their own terms.
Xi added that no matter how the international situation changes, no matter how far it develops in the future, China will always be a good neighbor, a good partner, a good friend and a good brother for the Central Asian countries they can trust and rely on.
He also said China firmly supports the five countries in safeguarding their national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, revitalizing their national unity and self-reliance, and enhancing their role on the international stage.
Suggestions to build a better future together
Looking ahead to a brighter future for China-Central Asia ties, Xi on Tuesday also offered a series of suggestions on how the two sides should continue their friendship and cooperation to strive for the common well-being of their peoples.
Xi stressed the need to strengthen the role model of good-neighborly friendship. He called on both sides to step up high-level exchanges and strategic communication, and to organize a series of dialogue and cooperation mechanisms such as the “China plus Central Asia” foreign ministers’ meeting.
“We firmly oppose attempts by external forces to incite color revolutions in Central Asia, we firmly oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries under the pretense of human rights, and we firmly oppose any force attempting to disrupt the peaceful lives of the disturbing peoples of our six countries,” Xi said.
Xi also pledged to build a cooperation belt for high-quality development with Central Asian countries and increase China’s trade with these countries to $70 billion by 2030.
To defend peace in the region, Xi called for continuous efforts to crack down on the “three evil forces” — terrorism, extremism and separatism.
China will provide Central Asian countries with another 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by 2022 and set up traditional medicine centers in countries with corresponding needs, he added.
The Sino-Uzbek Traditional Medicine Center opened in June 2020 in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent and offers traditional Chinese medicine.
To increase people-to-people exchanges, Xi also pledged to increase the number of twin cities with the five countries to 100 city pairs in the next five to 10 years, and provide 1,200 state scholarships for the five countries in the next five years.
Xi also announced that China will give Central Asian countries a $500 million grant to support livelihood programs. In doing so, he followed up on his Global Development Initiative, which aims to jointly tackle global risks and challenges and advance the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
With the Beijing Winter Olympics approaching, leaders of the five Central Asian countries said they look forward to next week’s opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Original content by: CGTN, transmitted by news aktuell