30 years on, China to build closer community of shared future with Central Asian nations
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the five Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The leaders of the six countries held a virtual summit commemorating the 30th anniversary on Tuesday, further setting course for deeper China-Central Asia relations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the virtual summit in Beijing, saying China is ready to work with Central Asian countries in building a closer community with a shared future.
Xi has on various occasions called for closer cooperation between China and Central Asia, especially to boost economy and trade, maintain regional peace and security, and promote democracy in international relations.
Code of success
President Xi on Tuesday pointed out that the keys to the successful cooperation between China and the five Central Asian countries are mutual respect, good neighborliness and friendship, solidarity, and mutual benefit.
These principles are valuable experience and shared wealth for the countries, and serve as political guarantees for stable and lasting relations between China and the five countries as well as the source of strength for friendly exchanges in the future, he added.
China and the five Central Asian countries have achieved solid and fruitful results in the past three decades. China's trade with the Central Asian nations has grown by more than 100 times in the period, said the Ministry of Commerce on Monday.
Over the 30-year period, the stocks of China's direct investment in the five countries have exceeded $14 billion, according to data released by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce in January.
The five Central Asian nations all signed on to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China. 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 reaffirmed China's commitment to supporting the five Central Asian countries in following a development path that is suited to their own conditions.
No matter how the international situation changes, no matter how far China develops in the future, it will always be a good neighbor, good partner, good friend and good brother for Central Asian countries to trust and rely on, Xi added.
He also said China firmly supports the five countries in safeguarding their national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, pursuing national revitalization and unity and self-reliance, and playing a greater role in the international arena.
Proposals on building brighter future together
Eyeing a brighter future for China-Central Asia ties, Xi on Tuesday also put forward a series of proposals on how the two sides should continue their friendship and cooperation to strive for the common welfare of their peoples.
Xi voiced the necessity to magnify the exemplary role of good-neighborly friendship, urging the two sides to strengthen high-level exchanges and strategic communication and 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 foment color revolutions in Central Asia, firmly oppose interference in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of human rights, and firmly oppose any force that tries to disrupt the tranquil life of the peoples of our six countries," said Xi.
Xi also pledged to build a cooperation belt for high-quality development with Central Asian countries, vowing to increase China's trade with these countries to $70 billion by 2030.
For defending regional peace, Xi urged continuous efforts to crack down on the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism.
China will provide another 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Central Asian countries in 2022 and set up traditional medicine centers in countries with such need, he added.
The Chinese-Uzbek Center for Traditional Medicine opened in the Uzbek capital Tashkent in June 2020, offering traditional Chinese medicine services.
To increase people-to-people exchanges, Xi also vowed to bring the number of sister cities with the five countries to 100 pairs in the next five to 10 years and provide 1,200 government scholarships to the five countries in the next five years.
Xi also announced that China will provide a grant assistance of $500 million to Central Asian countries in support of livelihood programs, echoing his Global Development Initiative, which aims to jointly tackle global risks and challenges and advance the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
With the Beijing Winter Olympics just around the corner, the leaders of the five Central Asian countries also said they eagerly look forward to attending the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics next week.