After a decade of BRI, China-Central Asia Summit to start new chapter
Updated 18:21, 23-May-2023
Farhod Arziev
After a decade of BRI, China-Central Asia Summit to start new chapter

After a decade of BRI, China-Central Asia Summit to start new chapter.mp3


Editor's note: Decision Makers is a global platform for decision makers to share their insights on events shaping today's world. Farhod Arziev is the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to China. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The ancient Chinese city of Xian will soon host the first China-Central Asia Summit. Xian, the starting point of the Silk Road, is a vivid testament to the profound connections between the people of our region. Therefore, the decision to hold the first-ever China-Central Asia Summit here is imbued with deep symbolic resonance.

The China-Central Asia Summit stirs within me a wellspring of expectations. Foremost among these is the proposed establishment of a China-Central Asia Business Council, an initiative aimed at bolstering commercial ties among participating countries. In January 2022, the President of Uzbekistan proposed the strategy for a new "China-Central Asia" economic dialogue during the "C+C5" virtual summit. This strategy advocates for targeted measures to ensure smooth trade, increase the supply of finished products from Central Asia to China, attract Chinese investment and technology, and to promote localized product manufacturing in Central Asia.

A further highlight of the summit is the planned launch of the "Year of Culture and Art of the Peoples of Central Asia and China." This initiative, conceived by the President of Uzbekistan, is a clarion call to broaden the scope of cultural exchanges among the countries.

There's no doubt that this summit will be a historic event. The agreements reached during the summit will reinforce our traditional friendship, catalyze more comprehensive cooperation among countries, and bring new opportunities.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As we navigate the path towards economic recovery in the aftermath of the global pandemic, the role of the BRI in promoting regional economic growth has become increasingly significant. Numerous examples serve to underscore this point. Notably, current projects like the Green Silk Road and the Digital Silk Road, which are important areas of BRI cooperation, stand to drive the development of countries like Uzbekistan in practical terms.

A view of the historical sites in Khiva, Uzbekistan, April 29, 2023. /Xinhua
A view of the historical sites in Khiva, Uzbekistan, April 29, 2023. /Xinhua

A view of the historical sites in Khiva, Uzbekistan, April 29, 2023. /Xinhua

One aspect that merits special emphasis is the immense significance to us of enhancing connectivity and establishing new transport corridors, a benefit we directly reap from the BRI. Strategically nestled at the heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan boasts considerable potential as a transportation corridor. Hence, the collaboration between China and Uzbekistan within the framework of this initiative holds a very promising future.

The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway construction project stands as a shining example of this potential. An agreement aimed at advancing this project was signed by the three countries during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Samarkand. Currently, we are working closely with our partners in China and Kyrgyzstan to fulfill this agreement. The execution of this project not only bears significant implications for the three participating countries but also serves to enhance connectivity across the entire Eurasian region.

Moreover, there are also active local exchanges between China and Uzbekistan. Up until now, a total of 14 regional and city partnerships have been established between the two countries, marked by a flurry of mutual visits by local delegations. For instance, a recent delegation from the Syrdarya region visited China and established a partnership with Shaanxi Province. As a result, the Syrdarya region is now a magnet for Chinese investors, thereby securing resources pivotal for its economic development. Meanwhile, both countries are working on increasing direct flights to promote cultural exchanges and tourism.

China's experiences in innovation and sustainable development are deeply appealing to Uzbekistan. At present, the two countries are joining forces to establish a Sino-Uzbek biotech cluster within Uzbekistan. Inspired by our president's initiative, we aim to leverage China's expertise, attract Chinese investment and technology, and transform the Syrdarya region into a hotbed for innovation-driven development.

Last year, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Uzbekistan and China. Our two countries share similar stances on many regional hot-spot issues. I believe that the China-Central Asia Summit and the continued implementation of BRI projects will deepen ties and cooperation, not only between China and Uzbekistan but among countries worldwide. This collaborative spirit is instrumental in driving sustainable development and ensuring global peace and prosperity.

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