President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov paid a state visit to the People’s Republic of China April 19-20 at the invitation of President Hu Jintao of PRC.
Program and agenda of the visit has come to be rich and dynamic. As soon as an hour into the Uzbek delegation’s arrival in Beijing, an official ceremonial meeting of President Islam Karimov took place in the building of National People’s Congress, as did the ensuing negotiations with President Hu Jintao extended to include officials from the two parties to be followed by a solid package of documents signed.
The Uzbek leader declared at the start of talks, “We consider the current visit a logical extension of intensively expanding bilateral and multilateral relations between our countries, an opportunity to discuss and exchange views on critical issues of shared interest, to afford a new impetus to our fruitful cooperation.”
The two heads of state deliberated on pressing subject matters of bilateral and multilateral nature in a thorough and confidential manner, including political interaction, cooperation in security issues, in economic, trade, investment, and cultural and humanitarian realms.
The very content of the talks and the scale of gravely vital topics discussed have underlined the preliminary serious attitude of the two sides to preparing the agenda and addressing the strategic challenges faced by the two nations.
PRC President Hu Jintao suggested that relations between Uzbekistan and China have been acquiring a new phase, transforming to a qualitatively new stage characterized by the dawn of wide-scale cooperation in high technologies.
Important deals have been reached in political and economic spheres, a range of documents in promising areas of interaction have been penned.
On the second day of the visit, President Islam Karimov met with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to thoroughly discuss practical implementation of agreements reached the day before by the heads of two states directed at cardinal expansion of trade, economic, and investment cooperation in the years to come.
The Chinese side put that it highly appreciates the dynamics of economic development and large-scale structural reforms in Uzbekistan, and expressed interest in developing cooperation in high tech, including through the establishment of industrial and technological parks.
Uzbekistan’s leader exchanged views on bolstering interstate cooperation and inter-parliamentary ties with Chairman of National People's Congress Wu Bangguo.
At his residence in Beijing, President Karimov met with PRC Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and discussed vital matters of Uzbek-Chinese cooperation in political and diplomatic sphere, pressing issues of regional and international politics in a constructive and engaged conversation.
In accordance with program of the visit, the head of our state met with Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and CEOs of leading Chinese companies and banks. Event participants substantively deliberated on high-tech projects and issues related to attracting Chinese investments to priority sectors of Uzbek economy.
Minister of Commerce Chen and representatives of Chinese leading businesses have noted the relevance and importance of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Protection and Promotion of Investments signed during the visit.
Heads of Eximbank and Bank of China pointed out the high level of stability and reliability of Uzbekistan’s banking system confirmed time and again during the global financial and economic crisis.
The leading Chinese banks reaffirmed their willingness to fund joint projects and informed that during the visit they opened new credit lines to four Uzbek banks in the amount of 1.5 billion US dollars for implementation of cooperative investment projects.
Also, a currency swap agreement signed between the People’s Bank of China and Central Bank of Uzbekistan is to remarkably extend the scope of opportunities in investment and trade cooperation between the two nations.
The talks with leaders of China have vividly demonstrated an intense and dynamic development on all key fronts of bilateral relations as well as their enormous potential.
PRC President Hu Jintao expressed gratitude to President Islam Karimov for a significant increase in the supply of strategic raw materials from Uzbekistan for the rapidly growing needs of the Chinese economy. As a result, the total volume of bilateral trade over the past five years has increased more than fourfold.
As part of this topic, the sides underscored the importance of further expanding the exports of such strategic commodities to China as cotton fiber, natural gas, uranium concentrate, non-ferrous metals, rare and rare earth elements, mineral fertilizers on long-term and stable basis. In this regard, the parties agreed on the extension of Intergovernmental Agreement on Trade in Strategic Goods through to 2020.
The PRC leadership noted the magnitude of a deal on the construction of third line of Uzbekistan-China gas pipeline signed during the visit, to lift up its traffic capacity to 25 billion cubic meters a year.
Heads of state stressed that although the interaction in strategic materials trade is momentous, the principal dimension of intensifying the cooperation between Uzbekistan and China is the realization of promising projects in attracting high technologies to Uzbekistan with the purpose of creating new and upgrading existing production capacities.
Agreements signed during the visit included ones on the implementation of major investment projects in chemical, oil and gas, energy and transport sectors, including construction of the second line of Dehqonobod potash fertilizer plant, establishment of automotive and agricultural tire production, conveyor belts in the city of Angren, phenylbutazone rubbers, liquefied natural gas, methanol, monochloroacetic acid, new power units at thermal power plants, renovation and development of coal industry, supply of modern locomotives and others.
Deals have been reached on implementing joint investment projects with China’s leading telecom companies of Huawei and 3TE.
Particular attention has been paid to the development of transport and communications networks, to establishing reliable corridors linking Uzbekistan and China. The parties considered opening an air bridge ‘East China-Navoi airport-Europe’, along with building a railway linking Uzbekistan and China by the shortest route.
Expounding on the prospects of trade and economic and investment cooperation, President Hu Jintao emphasized that China regards Uzbekistan a reliable partner to build a long-term relationship.
One of the major outcomes of the visit has been an agreement on setting up a high-level bilateral Cooperation Committee aimed at establishing a robust institutional framework for systemic development of relations between the two countries in all facets of mutual interaction.
The cornerstone document signed by the heads of state has come to be the Joint Declaration between the Republic of Uzbekistan and People’s Republic of China that contained assessment of the current state and prospects of fostering the cooperation in the longer run.
The sides expressed satisfaction with the constructive interaction within the UN and other major international political and financial institutions. Uzbek and Chinese partners reassured the serious importance attached to the development of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and expressed willingness to keep with the mutually beneficial regional partnership in trade, economic, investment, energy sectors, transport and communications.
Uzbekistan has firmly and consistently supported the deeply well thought-out and balanced political course of Chinese leadership, including Beijing’s principled stance on the one-China policy, its uncompromising struggle against the ‘three evils’ – terrorism, extremism and separatism.
The Chinese side expressed its complete comprehension of Uzbekistan’s concerns on the rational use of water and energy resources in Central Asia.
In total, more than 25 interstate, intergovernmental and interagency documents have been inked during the visit. Agreements provide for the implementation of a number of investment projects worth over $5 billion US dollars.
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov thanked PRC President Hu Jintao for the warm welcome and hospitality, and invited the latter to pay a state visit to Uzbekistan, which the Chinese leader accepted gratefully.