Subject : foreign affairs
BEIJING, May 21, 2023 /CNW/ – It is no coincidence that Xi’an was chosen to host the first in-person gathering of heads of state from China and five Central Asian countries since the establishment of diplomatic ties 31 years ago.
More than 2100 years ago, Zhang Qian, a Han dynasty envoy, made his journey west from Chang’an, now the city of Xi’anin northwest China, opening the door to friendship and exchanges between China and Central Asia.
During a speech at the China-Central Asia Summit, the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, Chinese President XiJinping recalled their millennia-old friendship and hailed their relations as brimming with vigor and vitality in this new era.
Explaining how to build a Central China-Asian community with a common future, Xi stressed the need for mutual support, common development, and upholding universal security and eternal friendship.
From Thursday to Friday, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Turkish President Serdar Berdimuhamedov and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev attended the summit.
During their meetings or talks with Mr. Xi, the leaders expressed their confidence and determination to strengthen cooperation with China, expressing their support for China’s proposed initiatives in global development, security and civilization.
set the pace for cooperation within the framework of the BRI
It is in Central Asia that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was born. In a speech delivered at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan, in September 2013, Mr. Xi proposed for the first time to build the Silk Road Economic Belt. A month later, in Indonesia, he proposed the construction of the maritime silk road of the XXIeshekel.
Over the past decade, China and Central Asian countries have worked closely together to fully revive the Silk Road and actively deepen future-oriented cooperation, guiding our relations into a new era, he said. Mr. Xi in his speech.
He continued to hail the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan highway, the China-Tajikistan highway, the China-Kazakhstan crude oil pipeline and the China-Central Asia gas pipeline as today’s Silk Road, and said freight trains and China-Europe freight trucks as they are the camel caravans of modern times.
In addition to their traditional areas of cooperation, China and Central Asia are also expected to forge new engines of growth in finance, agriculture, poverty reduction, green and low-carbon development, medical services, healthcare and digital innovation, Xi said.
China’s trade with the five countries reached $70 billion in 2022, a figure more than 100 times higher since the establishment of diplomatic ties. By the end of March, China’s direct investment in Central Asia amounted to more than $15 billion, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Working together for lasting peace
After the declaration of independence of the five Central Asian states in 1991, China was among the first countries to recognize their sovereignty and establish diplomatic relations with them. Since then, China and the countries have formed strategic partnerships.
At Friday’s summit, Xi reiterated that the sovereignty, security, independence and territorial integrity of Central Asian countries must be respected, the choice of development paths of their peoples must be respected and that their efforts for peace, harmony and tranquility should be supported.
It is important that we follow through on the Global Security Initiative and firmly oppose external attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of regional countries or incite revolutions, he stressed.
According to the Chinese leader, China and Central Asia should continue to have zero tolerance towards the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and strive to solve security problems in the region. region.
Strengthen the dialogue among civilizations
On Thursday evening, the leaders also attended an artistic performance, where dancers dressed in terracotta warrior costumes marched to the rhythm of drums, marking the opening of the year of culture and art of the peoples of the China and Central Asia, as well as the China-Central Asia Youth Arts Festival.
Cultural workers delivering messages of friendship as well as entrepreneurs seeking business opportunities, healthcare workers battling COVID-19 and international students pursuing their education are the goodwill ambassadors of today, Xi said on Friday.
Chinese universities are recruiting more students from Central Asia, which promotes better mutual understanding and greater affinity through youth exchanges. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Central Asian students studying in China grew by more than 12% annually between 2010 and 2018.
To promote dialogue among civilizations, China will continue to provide government scholarships to Central Asian countries and open special train services for cultural tourism in Central Asia, among others, Xi said.
It is important that we implement the Initiative for World Civilization, maintain our traditional friendship and improve people-to-people exchanges, he said.
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