President Xi charts course for China-Central Asia cooperation

This May 16, 2023 photo shows the media center of the China-Central Asia Summit in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

XI'AN – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday charted the course for China-Central Asia cooperation in the new era at a milestone summit with leaders of five Central Asian countries.

The China-Central Asia Summit, which runs from Thursday to Friday, was attended by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, President Sadyr Japarov of Kyrgyzstan, President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan.

Xi made an eight-point proposal ranging from expanding economic ties to strengthening cultural exchanges and safeguarding regional peace in his keynote address at the summit in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi province.

FULL TEXT: Xi Jinping's keynote speech at China-Central Asia Summit

China is ready to take the summit as an opportunity and work closely with Central Asian countries to ensure the China-Central Asia cooperation is well planned, effectively implemented, and steadily advanced, he said.

To bolster development capacity, China will formulate plans for cooperation with Central Asian countries in reducing poverty through science and technology, said Xi

To strengthen cooperation mechanisms, China proposes to establish meeting and dialogue mechanisms in industry and investment, agriculture, transportation, emergency management, education, and political party affairs, said the Chinese leader.

More trade facilitation measures will be rolled out and bilateral investment agreements will be upgraded to bring trade volume to a new height, he said.

As to enhancing connectivity, China will boost cross-border freight volume, support the construction of a cross-Caspian Sea international transport corridor, accelerate the upgrade of ports, develop China-Europe freight train hubs, and encourage businesses to build overseas warehouses in Central Asian countries, he said.

In terms of energy cooperation, China proposes to build a China-Central Asia energy development partnership, accelerate the construction of Line D of the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline, increase oil and gas trade, develop energy cooperation across the industrial chain, and boost cooperation in new energy and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

China is ready to promote green innovation cooperation with Central Asian countries, Xi said citing soil treatment, water-efficient irrigation, and the establishment of high-tech businesses and information technology parks in Central Asia.

To bolster development capacity, China will formulate plans for cooperation with Central Asian countries in reducing poverty through science and technology, the Chinese president said. 

Chinese-funded businesses will be encouraged to create more local jobs. China will provide 26 billion yuan (about $3.72 billion) of financing support and free assistance to Central Asian countries.

With regard to cultural exchanges, China will invite Central Asian countries to participate in the Cultural Silk Road program, build more traditional medicine centers, and promote the launch of special trains for cultural tourism, said Xi.

He stressed that China is ready to help Central Asian countries improve their law enforcement, security, and defense capacity building in an effort to safeguard regional peace. 

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Efforts should also be made to make good use of the mechanism of coordination among Afghanistan's neighbors and jointly promote peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, he added.

China is willing to strengthen exchanges with Central Asian countries in modernization concepts and practice, synergize development strategies, and make joint efforts to promote modernization of the six countries, said Xi.  

Community with shared future

While expounding ways to build a China-Central Asia community with a shared future, Xi stressed the need for mutual support and said China and Central Asian countries should deepen strategic mutual trust, and always offer clear and strong support for each other on issues of core interests such as those involving sovereignty, independence, national dignity and long-term development.

Stressing the need to uphold universal security, Xi said the six countries should jointly implement the Global Security Initiative

Underscoring common development, he called on the six countries to continue taking the lead in Belt and Road cooperation and to promote the implementation of the Global Development Initiative.

He also called for efforts to fully unleash cooperation potential in traditional areas such as trade, industrial capacity, energy and transportation, and to foster new growth drivers in areas such as finance, agriculture, poverty reduction, low carbon, health, and digital innovation.

Stressing the need to uphold universal security, Xi said the six countries should jointly implement the Global Security Initiative.

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The six countries should resolutely oppose external interference in the internal affairs of regional countries and attempts to instigate "color revolutions," and maintain a zero-tolerance stance against the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, Xi said.

They should carry forward their traditional friendship, promote personnel exchanges, strengthen exchanges of governance experience, enhance mutual learning among civilizations, and advance mutual understanding, he noted.

Relations full of vitality

The relations between China and Central Asian countries have great vigor and vitality in the new era, said the Chinese leader, adding that the countries have joined hands over the past decade to usher in a new era of their relations, said the Chinese leader.

China proposed to establish meeting and dialogue mechanisms in areas including industrial development and investment to facilitate the all-around cooperation between China and Central Asian countries, according to Xi.

The mechanisms will also cover agriculture, transportation, emergency management, education and political party affairs, he added.