At the invitation of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, President of the People’s Republic of China Hu Jintao arrived June 9 in our country on state visit.
Relations shaped between the two nations are historically deep-rooted, dating back to more than a thousand years and thriving most during the era of the Great Silk Road. The mutual cultural appeal and trade relations between Maveraunnahr and the Celestial Empire were indisputably critical in disseminating the culture of tea, cotton, silk, paper and other products that have since enjoyed incomparable demand worldwide.
The particular attention paid to the viewpoint of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in addressing international issues, speaks for a high political standing of the country, a permanent member of UN Security Council. The dynamic growth of its gross domestic product, and the fact that it is among the top ten economies in the world in terms of foreign trade and export volumes, lays bare China’s economic power.
In the twenty-first century, relations between Uzbekistan and the PRC have been vibrant in all aspects meeting the realities and requirements of our times. Today they comprise political cooperation in the international arena, joint efforts in countering terrorism, religious extremism and separatism, mutually beneficial interaction in trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian spheres.
Official welcoming ceremony of Chinese President has been hosted at Kuksaroy June 9. The guard of honor lined up for the distinguished guest. Then Islam Karimov and Hu Jintao rose to the podium, followed by state anthems of Uzbekistan and China being played flamboyantly. The two leaders reviewed the guard of honor.
During the presidents’ one-to-one meeting, the sides exchanged views on a wide range of issues related to advancing the Uzbek-Chinese relations, as well as regional and international topics of common interest.
Mutual confidence and political cooperation have been consolidated, with partnership in trade, economic and humanitarian spheres expanding. The two nations support one another in the international arena in promoting their vital interests by augmenting cooperation in the framework of the United Nations (UN), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and other international institutions. The two sides join their efforts in boosting regional security.
President Karimov said Uzbekistan highly appreciates its cooperation with China, based on mutual trust, respect and interest in deepening comprehensive interaction. As the head of nation stressed, our country supports enhancement of its interaction with China in all areas in the spirit of the Interstate Agreement on Partnership Relations of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 2005. Our republic is principally interested in expanding cooperation in energy, transportation, trade, telecommunications and other industries.
Hu Jintao maintained that China considers Uzbekistan as a time-tested friend and important partner. President of the PRC expressed his country's willingness to carry on with the rewarding cooperation with our republic in implementing the arrangements of strategic nature reached during summits.
The Chinese leader highly praised Uzbekistan’s activity as chair nation of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and noted in particular that the Joint Declaration on Cooperation between the Secretariats of the UN and SCO signed in Tashkent this April was a momentous event.
Presidents of Uzbekistan and China continued negotiations in a broader format with the participation of official delegations. Amid global financial and economic downturn, issues of curtailing its impact and preventing its devastating effects become central to intergovernmental cooperation. In order to address concerns in this area, the two countries have focused on expanding interaction in trade, economic, investment and financial spheres.
In this regard, joint projects in the financial sector have included interest-free and long-term soft loans provided by the government and Export-Import Bank of China. Owing to the Chinese credit line assigned for SCO member states, around 20 infrastructure projects worth over 600 million US dollars have been developed in Uzbekistan. The sum total of implemented projects in our country through soft loans from China has amounted to 127 million US dollars, while the volume of those in progress reaches 547 million dollars.
Investment cooperation has also been enlarging. In this direction, interaction is dynamically growing in the oil and gas, mining and other industries. For instance, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has had exploration work in the Aral Sea, Ustyurt, Bukhara-Khiva and Ferghana investment blocks.
In recent years, Uzbekistan and China have stepped up economic cooperation. While the volume of bilateral trade amounted to 1.2 billion US dollars in 2008, the figure exceeded 2 billion in 2009.
The agreements reached within the framework of investment cooperation include attracting investments from China worth 2 billion US dollars. Nonetheless, these indicators hardly correspond to the potential of cooperation between the two nations. Enormous opportunities for productive interaction provide transportation, logistics, construction, telecommunications, high-tech sectors. In particular, our countries can utilize the vast resources inherent in the free industrial zone in Navoi.
During the talks, the sides exchanged views on intensifying relations in cultural and humanitarian sphere, in the travel industry in particular. Set up in 1998, Uzbekistan-China Friendship Society has proved vigorous in advancing humanitarian cooperation, while the Chinese government – on a bilateral basis as well as within the SCO –provided scholarships for forty Uzbek students for the 2009-2010 academic year.
Following the negotiations, the heads of state signed the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Expansion and Development of Partnership Relations of Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the People's Republic of China. Governments of the two countries inked a number of agreements on cooperation in energy and high-tech areas, the one concerning accreditation, as well as the one related to opening a credit line to support small and private entrepreneurship.
At the meeting with media representatives, Islam Karimov and Hu Jintao stressed that a trustful, friendly and businesslike atmosphere characterized the talks. Leaders of the two countries expressed confidence that the agreements reached will serve to enhance Uzbek-Chinese relations and improve the welfare of the two peoples.
“This visit is an important milestone in Uzbek-Chinese relations”, President Islam Karimov said. “We highly value the dynamically developing political, economic and humanitarian cooperation with China. Today's negotiations have displayed once again the proximity of viewpoints on a number of such hot issues of modern development as the need for cooperation in countering the three evils, namely terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as in addressing many other international concerns. I would like to underscore that cooperation between our nations has in recent years turned more dynamic. In 2009, for instance, trade turnover grew by 18.9 percent, "Central Asia - China" gas pipeline was launched. We have agreed to extend our interaction in the sphere of high-tech as well. In this sense, the free industrial and economic zone in Navoi provides immense opportunities”.
In his turn, President Hu Jintao said, “We have exchanged views on deepening practical partnership, on regional and international issues. The Joint Declaration signed today will serve to further develop bilateral relations. We have agreed to continue contacts at the highest level, to advance cooperation in such areas as economy, energy, finance, investment, high technology, to increase mutual trade turnover, expand cultural and educational ties”.
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On June 10, President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov escorted Chinese President Hu Jintao who is in our republic on state visit, to the central part of the country - the Independence Square. The high-ranking guest laid flowers to the Monument of Independence and Humanism, a symbol of our freedom, august aspirations and bright future.
President of the PRC gave a high appraisal to the flamboyant creative work at the Independence Square under the direction of the President of Uzbekistan.
Following the noble ritual, Hu Jintao took a first-hand look at the work of Uzbekistan’s Senate.