China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS -

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said on Wed­nes­day that China and Uzbek­istan are work­ing to­gether to en­sure the suc­cess of the Belt andRoad­Ini­tia­tive.

Speak­ing to the Uzbek par­lia­ment, Xi said that the trade vol­ume be­tween China and the coun­tries along the Belt and Road routes has reached $1 tril­lion, onequar­ter of China’s to­tal for­eign trade vol­ume.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies have in­vested more than $14 bil­lion in the coun­tries along the Belt and Road route, cre­at­ing more than 60,000 job op­por­tu­ni­ties, Xi said.

Xi put for­ward the pro­pos­als to cre­ate a Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and a 21st Cen­tu­ryMar­itime Silk Road in 2013, with the aim of build­ing a trade and in­fras­truc­ture net­work along the an­cient Silk Road trade routes to con­nect Asia with Europe and Africa.

On Wed­nes­day, Xi also at­tended a cer­e­mony to mark the trial op­er­a­tion of the long­est rail­way tun­nel in Cen­tral Asia.

The Qam­chiq Tun­nel, which is 19.2 kilo­me­ters long, is part of the 169-km An­gren-Pap rail­way link­ing Tashkent with Uzbek­istan’s eastern city Na­man­gan. It was con­structed by the China Rail­way Tun­nel Group.

Uzbek Pres­i­dent Is­lam Ka­ri­mov said that the Qam­chiq Tun­nel is an im­por­tant in­fras­truc­ture project that has much sig­nif­i­cance for his coun­try.

Men­tion­ing that Xi’s home­town Xi’an is a city that flour­ished in olden times be­cause of the an­cient Silk Road, Ka­ri­mov spoke highly of the Chi­nese pres­i­dent’s ded­i­ca­tion to the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Jointly build­ing the Belt and Road is a high­light and pri­or­ity in China-Uzbek­istan co­op­er­a­tion, Xi wrote in a signed ar­ti­cle pub­lished in the lead­ing Uzbek news­pa­per Nar­o­d­noye Slove on Tues­day, ahead of his state visit to the coun­try.

“China ap­pre­ci­ates that Uzbek­istan was one of the first coun­tries to ex­press in­ter­est in the Asian In­fras­truc­ture In­vest­ment Bank and has joined it as a found­ing mem­ber,” Xi also wrote in the ar­ti­cle.

On Tues­day, Xi vis­ited Bukhara in cen­tral-south­ernUzbek­istan, a city-mu­seum with a his­tory of more than 2,500 years, which he called a “shin­ing pearl on the an­cient Silk Road”. Lo­cated along the route of the an­cient Silk Road, the city has long served as a cen­ter of trade, schol­ar­ship, cul­ture and re­li­gion.

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to Uzbek­istan Sun Li­jie said on the eve of Xi’s visit that Uzbek­istan has been a fa­mous stop on the Silk Road since an­cient times, and the Qam­chiq Tun­nel will be­come a link for the whole of Cen­tral Asia, which is a ma­jor part­ner of China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Con­tact the writer at an­bai­jie@chi­

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