A Glo­ri­ous New Chap­ter in China-Uzbek­istan Friend­ship

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

BOUR COR­RE­SPON­DENT EIJING Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pub­lished a signed ar ticle on lead­ing Uzbek news­pa­per Nar­o­d­noye Slove un­der the ti­tle of “A Glo­ri­ous New Chap­ter in Chi­naUzbek­istan Friend­ship” on Tues­day, ahead of his state visit to the Cen­tral Asian coun­try.

Full Text: “Grass-cov­ered land is lush green and snow-clad moun­tains are translu­cent and sil­very,” to quote a poem writ­ten by a Chi­nese en­voy in Ming Dy­nasty af­ter his mis­sion to Cen­tral Asia over 600 years ago. The mag­nif­i­cent land­scape of Uzbek­istan is fa­mil­iar to and ad­mired by the Chi­nese peo­ple since an­cient times. I first vis­ited your beautiful coun­try in Septem­ber 2013 and was deeply im­pressed by its dis­tinct nat­u­ral scenery, time-hon­ored his­tory and cul­tural heritage, and the hard­work­ing and tal­ented peo­ple.

At this fas­ci­nat­ing time of lush green, I will once again visit Uzbek­istan and at­tend the Sum­mit of the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion in Tashkent at the in­vi­ta­tion of Pres­i­dent Is­lam Ka­ri­mov. This is a visit I am very much look­ing for­ward to.

The peo­ple of our two coun­tries are dili­gent, coura­geous and hon­est. They cher­ish friend­ship and share sim­i­lar views on per­sonal ded­i­ca­tion to the wel­fare of the nation and the world. Over 2,000 years ago, the an­cient Silk Road con­nected China and Uzbek­istan and has since wit­nessed the growth of two-way trade, mu­tual learn­ing and peo­ple-to-peo­ple friend­ship. Zhang Qian in West­ern Han Dy­nasty, Xuan Zang in Tang Dy­nasty and Chen Cheng in Ming Dy­nasty trav­eled to Uzbek­istan as an en­voy or for a stopover. Renowned his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural fig­ures in Uzbek­istan such as Alisher Navoi, Mirza Ulug­bek and Muham­mad Al Kh­warizmi are known in China for their works and thoughts. Cen­tral Asia is the meet­ing place of Chi­nese and West­ern cul­tures, and Uzbek­istan has played an im­por­tant role as a bridge of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Over the cen­turies, China and Uzbek­istan have main­tained close con­tacts and fos­tered a fine tra­di­tion of friendly ex­changes, thus lay­ing a solid foun­da­tion for the good­neigh­borly re­la­tions we en­joy to­day.

Uzbek­istan is a ma­jor coun­try in Cen­tral Asia. China views its re­la­tions with Uzbek­istan from a strate­gic and long-term perspective. China was among the first coun­tries to es­tab­lish diplo­matic re­la­tions with Uzbek­istan shortly af­ter its in­de­pen­dence. Over the past 24 years, bi­lat­eral re­la­tions have stood the test of time and changes in the in­ter­na­tional land­scape and kept a mo­men­tum of sound and steady growth. Our two sides have ren­dered each other firm sup­port on is­sues con­cern­ing our re­spec­tive core in­ter­ests and achieved fruit­ful re­sults in co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields.

Since 2013, Pres­i­dent Ka­ri­mov and I have stayed in close touch by way of meet­ings, phone calls and cor­re­spon­dence, and have de­vel­oped good work­ing re­la­tions and deep per­sonal friend­ship. Our two sides have signed such im­por­tant doc­u­ments as the Treaty on Friendly Co­op­er­a­tion and the De­vel­op­ment Plan for the Strate­gic Part­ner­ship (2014-2018), thus ce­ment­ing the po­lit­i­cal and le­gal foun­da­tion of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. We are jointly build­ing the Belt and Road, syn­er­giz­ing our na­tional strate­gies, seek­ing in­no­va­tive driv­ers for co­op­er­a­tion, and en­hanc­ing in­ter­na­tional co­or­di­na­tion and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion. With bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion grow­ing in both breadth and depth, China-Uzbek­istan re­la­tions have en­tered a golden era of rapid de­vel­op­ment.

Jointly build­ing the Belt and Road is a high­light and pri­or­ity in our bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion. In pol­icy com­mu­ni­ca­tion, our two coun­tries have signed the co­op­er­a­tion doc­u­ment on jointly build­ing the Belt and Road and are work­ing on an out­line of co­op­er­a­tion plan. 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.

In 2015, our two-way trade reached 3.5 bil­lion U.S. dol­lars, up by more than 70-fold com­pared with the early days of our diplo­matic re­la­tions. China has been Uzbek­istan’s big­gest source of in­vest­ment and se­cond largest trad­ing part­ner for three years. All four pipe­lines of the China-Cen­tral Asia nat­u­ral gas pipeline sys­tem run through Uzbek­istan. In Fe­bru­ary this year, our two sides com­pleted the con­struc­tion of the An­gren-Pap rail­way tun­nel, the long­est of its kind in Cen­tral Asia and a new link in the trans­porta­tion cor­ri­dor con­nect­ing China and Cen­tral Asia. Both sides sup­port the build­ing of a rail­way link­ing China, Kyr­gyzs­tan and Uzbek­istan and will reach out to the rel­e­vant coun­try to make progress in the project. Our two coun­tries have jointly es­tab­lished plants for the pro­duc­tion of tire, PVC and soda, car­ried out co­op­er­a­tion in cot­ton pro­cess­ing, and reg­is­tered ini­tial suc­cess in the pro­duc­tion of ceramic tiles, smart phones, leather prod­ucts and shoes in the China-Uzbek­istan In­dus­trial Park. It is fair to say that im­por­tant “early har­vests” have been achieved in our co­op­er­a­tion on the Belt and Road.

Both China and Uzbek­istan have a long his­tory and splen­did cul­ture. Peo­ple-to-peo­ple and cul­tural ex­changes have been part and par­cel of our bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. In re­cent years, the two sides have made fresh progress in stu­dent ex­change pro­grams, Chi­nese lan­guage train­ing, sub­na­tional ex­changes, joint ar­chae­o­log­i­cal projects and trans­la­tion of lit­er­ary works. As a re­sult of these, the friend­ship between our peo­ples has deep­ened. Cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion has brought our peo­ples closer.

Thanks to our good col­lab­o­ra­tion, the first Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute in Cen­tral Asia was opened in Tashkent 11 years ago and has since pro­duced more than 3,000 “am­bas­sadors” pro­mot­ing China-Uzbek­istan friend­ship. The State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cul­tural Heritage of China, the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences and the North­west Univer­sity of China have worked ac­tively with Uzbek­istan on joint ar­chae­o­log­i­cal re­search and restora­tion, mak­ing im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions to restor­ing the his­tor­i­cal sites of the Silk Road. Just re­cently, the Uzbek edi­tion of the Cat Coun­try, a novel writ­ten by renowned Chi­nese writer Lao She and trans­lated by a Uzbek si­nol­o­gist, has been pub­lished. I trust it will open an­other win­dow for peo­ple in Uzbek­istan to know more about Chi­nese lit­er­a­ture.

China and Uzbek­istan are a com­mu­nity of com­mon in­ter­est and shared fu­ture fea­tur­ing equal­ity, sol­i­dar­ity and win-win co­op­er­a­tion. To pur­sue de­vel­op­ment and na­tional re­newal is the dream of both our peo­ples. Given the deep changes in the in­ter­na­tional land­scape, slow re­cov­ery in the world econ­omy and daunt­ing tasks of de­vel­op­ment for all coun­tries, to en­hance our bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in all re­spects meets the trend of his­tory and serves the fun­da­men­tal in­ter­est of our two coun­tries and peo­ples. We hope that China and Uzbek­istan will make greater achieve­ments in the pur­suit of com­mon de­vel­op­ment and pros­per­ity.

— We need to en­hance po­lit­i­cal mu­tual trust and mu­tual sup­port. The an­cient Chi­nese philoso­pher Con­fu­cius said, “In his deal­ings with friends, one should be trust­wor­thy in what he says.” Po­lit­i­cal mu­tual trust is an im­por­tant ba­sis for the sound growth of China-Uzbek­istan re­la­tions. We will con­tinue to ex­tend each other firm sup­port on is­sues con­cern­ing each other’s core in­ter­ests such as sovereignty, se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment. China firmly sup­ports Uzbek­istan in its in­de­pen­dent choice of a de­vel­op­ment path that suits its na­tional con­di­tions, un­der­stands and re­spects the mea­sures taken by the Uzbek gov­ern­ment for na­tional sta­bil­ity and eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment, and op­poses in­ter­fer­ence by ex­ter­nal forces in Uzbek­istan’s in­ter­nal af­fairs.

— We need to work to­gether to en­sure the suc­cess of the ma­jor ini­tia­tive of the Belt and Road and ex­plore broader space for co­op­er­a­tion based on mu­tual ben­e­fit. While strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the en­ergy and re­sources sec­tor, we also need to ex­plore other areas of co­op­er­a­tion, fa­cil­i­tate bi­lat­eral trade and make it bet­ter-struc­tured. We should seek con­verg­ing in­ter­ests, deepen pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion in light of lo­cal con­di­tions and trans­late our eco­nomic com­ple­men­tar­ity into more tan­gi­ble out­comes of co­op­er­a­tion.

— We need to in­crease un­der­stand­ing between our peo­ples and deepen cul­tural, ed­u­ca­tion, tourism, ar­chae­o­log­i­cal and sub-na­tional co­op­er­a­tion to foster a greater sense of pride and con­fi­dence in China and Uzbek­istan, both an­cient civ­i­liza­tions along the Silk Road. We should lever­age the two Con­fu­cius In­sti­tutes in Uzbek­istan as bridges between our youth and nur­ture China-Uzbek­istan friend­ship among fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. We need to sup­port cul­tural events such as the Chi­nese “Happy Spring Fes­ti­val” and the Uzbek “Ori­en­tal Charm” staged in each other’s coun­try and bring well-re­ceived per­for­mances and fine artis­tic works to more peo­ple.

— We need to im­ple­ment the con­cept of com­mon, com­pre­hen­sive, co­op­er­a­tive and sus­tain­able se­cu­rity and deepen China-Uzbek­istan law en­force­ment and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion. It is im­por­tant that we have a keen un­der­stand­ing of the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion, step up in­for­ma­tion shar­ing, com­bat the “three forces of ter­ror­ism, sep­a­ratism and ex­trem­ism,” drug-traf­fick­ing and other forms of transna­tional or­ga­nized crime so that we can jointly foster a se­cure en­vi­ron­ment for peace­ful de­vel­op­ment of the re­gion and en­sure the safety of our peo­ples and their prop­erty.

— We need to en­hance strate­gic co­or­di­na­tion in in­ter­na­tional af­fairs and deepen our co­or­di­na­tion in mul­ti­lat­eral fora such as the United Na­tions and the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SCO). We should give firm sup­port to each other’s con­struc­tive in­ter­na­tional ini­tia­tives, ex­change views in a timely man­ner on global is­sues such as global eco­nomic gov­er­nance, en­ergy se­cu­rity and wa­ter re­sources, and on re­gional and hot-spot is­sues such as Afghanistan and the sit­u­a­tion in West Asia and North Africa to jointly up­hold our strate­gic in­ter­ests. China sup­ports Uzbek­istan in play­ing a big­ger role in in­ter­na­tional af­fairs.

An­other im­por­tant part of my agenda in Uzbek­istan is to at­tend the SCO sum­mit in Tashkent. This year marks the 15th an­niver­sary of the SCO, and this sum­mit will be an im­por­tant oc­ca­sion for us to re­view past ex­pe­ri­ence and plan for fu­ture co­op­er­a­tion. Over the past 15 years, the SCO, guided by the “Shang­hai Spirit” fea­tur­ing mu­tual trust, mu­tual ben­e­fit, equal­ity, con­sul­ta­tion, re­spect for di­verse civ­i­liza­tions and pur­suit of com­mon de­vel­op­ment, has ac­tively ad­vo­cated a new type of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions fea­tur­ing open­ness, in­clu­sive­ness and win-win co­op­er­a­tion and con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly to re­gional sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity.

The SCO mem­bers have signed and im­ple­mented a num­ber of agree­ments in­clud­ing the Shang­hai Con­ven­tion on com­bat­ing the “three forces” and the bor­der con­trol co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment, and held joint counter-ter­ror­ism drills on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. These ef­forts have ef­fec­tively de­terred transna­tional crime and ter­ror­ist and ex­trem­ist ac­tiv­i­ties in this re­gion and dif­fused se­cu­rity risks for all member states. In areas such as econ­omy and trade, trans­porta­tion, en­ergy, in­fra­struc­ture, agri­cul­ture and peo­ple-topeo­ple ex­change, deeper co­op­er­a­tion un­der the SCO frame­work has ad­vanced the mem­bers states’ eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment and taken to peo­ple’s heart the con­cept of good­neigh­borly friend­ship and mu­tual ben­e­fit. As the SCO starts to ad­mit new mem­bers, its cir­cle of friends is ex­pand­ing to coun­tries in Cen­tral Asia, South Asia, West Asia and South­east Asia. As a re­sult, the SCO’s co­op­er­a­tion po­ten­tial will go up sig­nif­i­cantly and its in­ter­na­tional stand­ing and in­flu­ence will also be on the rise.

As the ro­tat­ing chair of the SCO this year, Uzbek­istan has done a lot to se­cure tan­gi­ble out­comes of co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields. China stands ready to work with Uzbek­istan and other member states and take the Tashkent sum­mit as a new start­ing point to fur­ther en­hance co­op­er­a­tion across the board so that the SCO will bring more benefits to this re­gion and its peo­ple.

This year marks the 25th an­niver­sary of the in­de­pen­dence of Uzbek­istan, and I wish to con­grat­u­late Uzbek­istan on that. Un­der the lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent Ka­ri­mov, Uzbek­istan has made re­mark­able achieve­ments in its na­tional de­vel­op­ment and gained greater in­ter­na­tional in­flu­ence. The Uzbek gov­ern­ment has adopted a peo­ple-cen­tered ap­proach to en­sure that eco­nomic growth will truly ben­e­fit the peo­ple. A num­ber of na­tional pro­grams have been adopted such as the “Year of Youth,” “Year of Healthy Child,” “Year of At­ten­tion and Care for the El­derly” and “Year of Healthy Mother and Child.” As a re­sult, peo­ple’s liveli­hood has been im­prov­ing steadily and there is bal­anced de­vel­op­ment between ur­ban and ru­ral areas. Uzbek­istan has em­barked on a path of de­vel­op­ment that suits its na­tional re­al­ity, and China wishes Uzbek­istan even greater suc­cess in na­tional de­vel­op­ment.

A Uzbek proverb goes, “A tree gets at­ten­tion only when it bears fruits.” China-Uzbek­istan co­op­er­a­tion across the board has yielded fruit­ful re­sults, and has ben­e­fited and won the sup­port of our two peo­ples. I be­lieve that in re­al­iz­ing our re­spec­tive na­tional de­vel­op­ment and re­ju­ve­na­tion, our two coun­tries will join hands and write a glo­ri­ous new chap­ter of Chi­naUzbek­istan friend­ship.

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