PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN
June 28, 2016
A NEW BRIGHT PAGE IN SINO-UZBEK FRIENDSHIP
“Green meadows trail carpets on the ground, and desolate mountains dress in silver”. These lines of poetry were written over 600 years ago by the Chinese envoy of the Ming Dynasty, during his trip to Central Asia. The magnificent and lovely scenery of Uzbekistan has been familiar and attractive to the Chinese people since ancient times. In September 2013, I paid my first visit to Uzbekistan, and the picturesque nature, the long history and culture, the hardworking and talented people of this country left a lasting impression on me.
And this time around, in the flowering summer, when all the life on this earth is in full swing, I am in Uzbekistan again at the invitation of President Islam Karimov and participate in the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Tashkent, from which I expect a lot.
The Chinese and Uzbek peoples are industrious, courageous, honest and decent, loyal and responsible, friendly and trustworthy; they have a similar vision of family, country and the world. 2000 years ago, the Great Silk Road united the peoples of our nations, and hence the friendly contacts, mutual exchange and enrichment. The Chinese envoys Zhang Qian of the Shihan Dynasty, Syuanzhan of the Tang Dynasty and Chenchen of the Ming Dynasty went on missions to Uzbekistan or passed through the territory of Uzbekistan, and the writings and ideas of Alisher Navoi, Ulugbek, Al-Khorezmi and Uzbekistan’s other glorious historical and cultural personalities are widely known in China. Meanwhile, in Central Asia, Chinese and Western cultures intertwined with each other, and Uzbekistan’s role as a bridge here is hard to overestimate. The existing centuries-old close ties and the good traditions of friendship provide a solid backbone for the current good-neighborliness and friendship between China and Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan is a major power in Central Asia. China always considers relations with it from a strategic height and perspective. From the outset of Uzbekistan’s independence, the People’s Republic was among the first to establish diplomatic relations with it. Over the past 24 years, the Sino-Uzbek relations have withstood the test of time, rain and storms in the international environment, and retain stable dynamics of development. The two sides are resolute to support each other in matters affecting the vital interests of each other, and have been building up fruitful cooperation across all spheres.
Since 2013, we have maintained close ties with President Islam Karimov in various formats: that is, talks and meetings, telephone conversations, exchanges of letters, and have established good working relations coupled with deep personal friendship. The political and normative bedrock of bilateral relations has been firmly established owing to the Friendship and Cooperation Treaty between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Uzbekistan, the 2014-2018 Program of Strategic Partnership Development between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Uzbekistan, and a number of other important documents. Both countries support each other in the joint creation of the Economic Belt of the Silk Road, undertake efforts to steadily expand the bonds and fill them with practical content. They look for new drivers for cooperation, and cooperation in international affairs and security has been consolidating. Constantly enhancing is the scope of Sino-Uzbek cooperation, while its quality has been rising. What we have been experiencing is the golden age of rapid development of bilateral relations.
Currently, the cooperation on the practical implementation of China’s initiative to establish the Economic Belt of the Silk Road is aimed at identifying and further promoting the promising new directions and priority projects for economic interaction. The Chinese side appreciates that Uzbekistan became one of the first countries-founders of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
In 2015, the volume of bilateral Sino-Uzbek trade, according to Chinese data, amounted to 3.5 billion US dollars, an increase of more than 70 times compared with the early years of diplomatic relations. For the third consecutive year, China has been the top investor and the second largest trade partner of Uzbekistan. All four lines of the China-Central Asia gas pipeline pass through the territory of Uzbekistan. This past February, construction of the longest railway tunnel in Central Asia was completed along the Angren-Pap railroad, which has become a new hub of transport corridor between China and Central Asia. Our two sides also support the construction of China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway and are willing to promote the mutual coordination process. Joint projects have been implemented on the tire factory, PVC and soda plant; we have launched cooperation in cotton processing, while projects for the production of bricks, smartphones, for tanning leather and footwear manufacturing are gaining momentum in the Sino-Uzbek industrial park.
Both China and Uzbekistan have a long history and brilliant culture. Humanitarian contacts are always an important part of Sino-Uzbek relations. In recent years, new progress has been achieved in the exchange of students, teaching the Chinese language, inter-regional contacts, joint archaeological expeditions and mutual translation of literary works, while mutual sympathies went even deeper into the hearts of the two peoples through cultural and humanitarian interaction. More than 3,000 envoys of Sino-Uzbek friendship have come out from the joint Confucius Institute in Tashkent – Central Asia’s first such institution – over the last 11 years. China government department for the ancient monuments of culture, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China Northwest University have been active in shoring up joint works with Uzbek colleagues in archaeological research and restoration of historical monuments, and been making great efforts to restore the appearance of the Great Silk Road. Recently, the work of a famous Chinese writer, Laoshe, “Notes on the cat city” was translated by an Uzbek Sinologist and published in Uzbekistan. I think that it is an open window that will help Uzbek readers to get acquainted with Chinese literature.
China and Uzbekistan constitute a community of joint interests and a single fate; they are equal and mutually beneficial partners who share both joy and trouble. The peoples of the two countries are seeking to have their dreams come true, to see the development of their countries and the revival of their nations. Today, the international situation has been undergoing profound transformation, with slow global economic recovery, and the task of internal development is hard for all countries of the world. Amid these circumstances, consolidation of comprehensive Sino-Uzbek cooperation meets the dictates of time and fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. We have both desire and confidence that, without any doubt, wider and more successful will be the way of joint development and prosperity of China and Uzbekistan.
We need to cement political mutual trust and reciprocal support. In the words of ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, “When talking with friends you have to be faithful to your word”. Political mutual trust is a guarantee of the sound advancement of Sino-Uzbek relations. Both sides will, as before, provide strong support for each other in matters relating to key interests of the two nations, such as state sovereignty, security and development. China firmly supports Uzbekistan’s chosen path of development that caters to the realities of the country, regards with understanding and respect the measures taken by the government of Uzbekistan to secure stability in the country and socio-economic development, opposes outside interference in the internal affairs of Uzbekistan.
On the basis of mutual benefit and interest should we accomplish the task of the joint formation of the Silk Road Economic Belt. Along with cooperation in the energy, it is necessary to enhance interaction in non-oil sector, improve trade and economic structure, and create favorable conditions for trade and economic relations between the two countries. It is important to seek common ground, deepen cooperation, especially in high-tech sectors of the economy, continue to promote the implementation of mutually advantageous projects, encourage reciprocal investment.
We should carefully develop projects that serve for the two peoples to become closer on the basis of enhanced cooperation in the fields of culture, education, tourism, archeology and interregional relations, foster a sense of pride and confidence between our two countries as the ancient states of the Great Silk Road. It is necessary to make use of the linking role of the two Confucius Institutes, reinforce communication among youths in order to prepare successors of the Sino-Uzbek friendship. It is sensible to maintain the concert program “The Joyful Festival of Spring” and the music festival “Sharq Taronalari”, to encourage cultural programs and the best literary works to come closer to the people.
We need to implement the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, step up cooperation between law enforcement bodies and special services of the two countries. It is important to intensify the analysis of the situation and exchange information, deliver a decisive blow to the three evils, as well as drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime, to build up joint efforts to create a safe environment for peaceful development in the region and ensure the safety of life and property of the peoples of the two countries.
We ought to fortify strategic coordination on international affairs, extend harmonization in the UN, SCO and other multilateral formats. It is necessary to firmly support each other’s constructive initiatives in the international arena, exchange views in a timely manner on the global scale, such as world economic governance, energy security, water resources, etc., as well as on relevant topics in the regional agenda, in particular, the situation in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa, together defend the strategic interests of our two nations. China supports the growth of Uzbekistan’s role in international affairs.
In addition to the visit, I have another important program in Uzbekistan, namely, the participation in the Tashkent Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In the context of celebration of SCO’s 15th anniversary, the forthcoming meeting is particularly essential to review the experience of the organization and discuss areas of cooperation in the future. For 15 years, the SCO has embodied the “Shanghai Spirit” constituting mutual trust and benefit, equality, consultation, respect for the diversity of cultures and civilizations, pursuit of common development. It has actively supported and advocated the formation of a new type of international relations on the basis of openness, tolerance, cooperation and common win, making a major contribution to the promotion of stability and prosperity in the region.
The signing and implementation of the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, the Agreement on Cooperation of SCO Member States on Border Issues has allowed to contain cross-border crime and the activities of terrorist and extremist groups, and thus to adequately address the security risks the SCO member states face. Continuous consolidation of practical cooperation within the SCO frameworks in trade-economic, transport, energy, infrastructure, agriculture, humanitarian areas contributes to the socio-economic development of member nations, and the idea of good-neighborliness, friendship and mutual benefit has penetrated deeply into the hearts of our people. With the expansion of the SCO, more new faces appear in her circle of friends, which geographically already covers Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East and Southeast Asia. The possibilities of cooperation within the SCO frameworks have significantly grown, while the organization’s role and influence are steadily increasing.
I would like to emphasize Uzbekistan’s major contribution – during its presidency in the organization – to the practical promotion of cooperation in all areas within the SCO. China is willing, together with the Uzbek side and the other member states, beginning with the summit in Tashkent as a new start, to comprehensively uplift the level of interaction in the SCO for the benefit of our region and our peoples.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, and I would like to congratulate the Uzbek friends on this auspicious occasion. Under the leadership of President Islam Karimov, this country has made admirable achievements in the development of the country, and the nation has elevated its influence in the international arena. Under the motto of development for the advantage of the people, the Uzbek government has been bringing about the mounting amount of fruits of economic growth to the people. Implemented are the special state programs, including “Year of Attention and Care for the Senior Generation\", “Year of Youth”, “Year of Healthy Child”, “Year of Healthy Mother and Child”, thereby improving the welfare of the population, securing balanced progress of urban and rural areas. Uzbekistan has successfully formed its own model of development that corresponds to the national realities. We wish Uzbekistan new and great success in the development of the country.
As an Uzbek proverb goes, people are more likely to notice a bulky tree with large fruits. The Sino-Uzbek multilayered cooperation is already yielding great results. It brings benefits to our two peoples and enjoys their approval and support. Without any doubt, on their way to national development and revitalization, China and Uzbekistan will certainly continue to go forward together, hand in hand, and will open a new bright page in the Sino-Uzbek friendship.
Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)