By Guo Jiping, People’s Daily
Chinese President Xi Jinping will chair the China-Central Asia Summit in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province on May 18 and 19.
The event is the first summit held offline by the heads of state of China and Central Asian countries since establishing diplomatic ties 31 years ago. The summit will mark a significant milestone in the development of relations between China and Central Asian countries.
This summit marks the official establishment of the heads of state meeting mechanism of China+Central Asia (C+C5). It will exert important and profound impacts on the relations between China and Central Asian countries, the revitalization of the six countries and regional peace and stability.
Under the guidance of head-of-state diplomacy, the political mutual trust and comprehensive cooperation between China and Central Asian countries have reached an unprecedented height. China has established comprehensive strategic partnerships and signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with all the five Central Asian countries. Together, they have blazed a new trail of good-neighborly friendship and win-win cooperation, and set a good example of fostering a new type of international relations.
China is ready to assist Central Asia to build itself into a bridge linking Western and Eastern civilizations, and to work with the region to jointly pursue national development and rejuvenation.
Since the two sides established diplomatic ties, China has always treated Central Asian countries as equals at the political level, fully understood their legitimate concerns and practically accommodated their demands, winning respect from these countries.
China and Central Asian countries enjoy strong momentum in economic and trade cooperation. Trade between the two sides has a strong complementarity and has maintained long-term stable growth.
In 2022, China-Central Asia trade reached a record high of $70.2 billion, which effectively reinforced the resilience of regional industrial and supply chains.
China is willing to share with Central Asian countries its vast market, complete industrial system and advanced technologies. The two sides have been committed to optimizing trade structures and will work together to promote high-quality economic development of the region.
China and Central Asian countries have made historic and groundbreaking landmark achievements in their cooperation.
The Central Asian region is China’s first neighboring cluster of strategic partners. China is the largest trading partner of Central Asia. Central Asia is where the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was initiated and the first stop of the Belt and Road to the West. The China-Central Asia gas pipeline is the world’s longest of its type.
These remarkable achievements come from the key to the successful cooperation between China and the five Central Asian countries, which lies in their abiding commitment to mutual respect, good-neighborly friendship, solidarity in trying times, and mutual benefit.
Central Asia is a demonstration zone of BRI achievements. The Qamchiq Tunnel of the Angren-Pap railway line in Uzbekistan has completely changed the way of transport for millions of people. The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan highway is like an artery of international transport that crosses mountains. Chinese and Central Asian railway systems were a vital contributor to international cooperation amid COVID-19.
Today, there are more and more bridges for China-Central Asia cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The two sides have forged 62 pairs of sister provinces, regions and cities, and are seeing hundreds of thousands of people traveling between them each year. Thirteen Confucius Institutes have been set up in Central Asia and the first Luban Workshop in Central Asia has been inaugurated in Tajikistan. Many renowned Chinese universities have research centers of studies on Central Asian countries and offer majors of Central Asian languages.
China and Central Asian countries share broad common interests and similar positions on many international and regional issues. The two sides have constantly enhanced cooperation in international and regional organizations such as the UN, the WTO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to safeguard common security and development interests, making contributions to improving global and regional governance.
The building of a China-Central Asia community with a shared future is a common aspiration of the people in both China and Central Asian countries, and will enjoy broad space for development.
China and Central Asian countries will build on the good momentum and strive shoulder-by-shoulder, to make contributions to building a community with a shared future for mankind and to promoting world peace and development.