President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov arrived 19 August in Beijing with a state visit on the invitation of President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping.
The Uzbek-Chinese relations have been noticeably enlarging as of late to rise to a higher level of strategic partnership. This kind of cooperation that serves the national interests of our two countries, the economic advancement of Uzbekistan and China and the rise in standings of both states on the world stage, has been in dynamic progress. This is built on the friendship and mutual respect between Islam Karimov and Xi Jinping, on the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation, the Joint Declaration on the Further Development and Enhancement of Bilateral Relations of Strategic Partnership.
This has been well manifest in the regular meetings between the heads of our two states, the constructive nature of their talks dedicated to setting in motion the new opportunities in uplifting the bilateral ties to a higher level, to furthering the realization of the potential of Uzbekistan and China in all spheres. Notably, during President Islam Karimov’s June 2012 visit to the PRC, documents were inked to implement more than thirty investment projects totaling 5.3 billion US dollars. Within the frameworks of the visit by President Xi Jinping to Uzbekistan in September 2013, another 31 documents were signed to execute projects for 15 billion dollars.
The two leaders met in May 2014 in Shanghai during the 4th Summit of the Conference for Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.
As to the current visit, its major events were scheduled for August 19.
The official ceremony of welcoming the President of Uzbekistan took place in the Palace of China National People’s Congress.
Islam Karimov and Xi Jinping held talks in a contracted format. The two sides discussed a wide range of issues relating to the further development of relations between Uzbekistan and China, and they exchanged views on regional and international affairs of shared interest.
The President of our country stressed that Uzbekistan attaches tremendous significance to every meeting with the leadership of China, and that the present negotiations constitute a logical extension of dialogue at the highest level.
In his turn, Xi Jinping said China considers Uzbekistan a reliable partner, and that the bilateral cooperation has been progressing on the basis of principles of long-term prospects and reciprocal interest.
The two parties vowed to reinforce the mutual political trust, continue with reciprocal support and coordination of actions in the international arena and cooperation in the sphere of security.
Islam Karimov and Xi Jinping deliberated also on issues pertaining to bilateral interaction within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the evolution of that institution.
The heads of our two states, given the importance of trade-economic and investment ties in bilateral relations, noted the necessity of further intensification of direct contacts between business circles of our two nations, the growth of indicators in commerce and investments, energy, non-raw materials sectors, high technologies and transport infrastructure.
The leaders of our two countries continued negotiations with the participation of official delegations of Uzbekistan and China.
The bonds between the Uzbek and Chinese peoples are inseparably linked with the history of the Great Silk Road; our national values and traditions exerted an immense effect on the evolution of world civilization, while commercial ties facilitated the extensive dissemination of unique discoveries of those epochs around the entire world. Such essential elements of everyday life as tea, cotton, silk and paper are just a small part of that list.
During the talks in extended format, the two sides discussed issues related to the further advancement of our centuries-old economic and cultural cooperation in the spirit of modern times.
It is noteworthy that China is one of Uzbekistan’s major trade-economic and investment partners. In particular, the volume of trade turnover between our two nations has increased almost six times within the last six years, to reach 5.2 billion dollars in 2013. Currently, 482 enterprises established with Chinese partners operate in Uzbekistan. More than seventy of them are founded exclusively with investments of China. 74 companies and corporations from the PRC have representative offices in our country.
China highly appraises Uzbekistan’s steady growth rates and supports its efforts directed at creating and bolstering new high-technology sectors of the economy, the modernization and technological re-equipment of industrial enterprises.
In accordance with agreements at the highest level, an Uzbek-Chinese industrial park of high technologies was founded in 2013 in the form of Special Industrial Zone Jizzakh. Production of mobile phones, construction materials and other goods was launched in the zone. This year, in excess of 15 projects are envisaged for implementation at the Jizzakh SIZ with the involvement of direct investments from Chinese companies for a total of over 50 million dollars.
The scales of cooperation are brightly manifest also in the fuel and energy complex. A number of Chinese corporations have been active in prospecting and development of hydrocarbon deposits in our country. The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has been taking part not merely in the implementation of a project in geological prospecting and commercial development of promising hydrocarbon fields, but also in deep reprocessing of natural gas at the Mubarek Gas Chemical Complex. Both countries also underscore the strategically vital significance of the construction and commissioning of the Central Asia – China gas pipeline envisioned to secure uninterrupted supply of natural gas to the PRC.
The layout of the shortest railway line between Uzbekistan and China is also one of strategic aspects of our economic cooperation. That is anticipated to ensure China’s access to Central Asia and further to South Asia. Uzbekistan supports the construction of railroad China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan. The scheme envisages the construction of a 124-kilometer length electrified railway line Angren-Pap. In 2013, Uzbekiston Temir Yullari state railway stock company and China Railway Tunnel Group penned a 455-million-dollar agreement to build the railway Angren-Pap, passing through the Kamchik Pass. The deal spearheaded corresponding works with the engagement of Chinese partners. The project envisions the construction of a 19-kilometer-long railway tunnel. The construction of a more than 60-kilometer sector of this line has already been completed.
Dynamic has been the interaction in the financial sector, as well. The total volume of all loans from such financial institutions as China Development Bank and the Eximbank of China exceeds 4.5 billion dollars. They are directed at boosting healthcare, education, energy sector, transportation and telecommunications.
The cooperation between our two nations in the field of culture, science and technologies has also been enlarging consistently. In 2003, the monument to the great Uzbek artist Kamoliddin Behzod was opened within the frameworks of the 6th China Changchun International Sculpture Symposium.
In consolidating the cultural-humanitarian relations, important are the friendship societies “Uzbekistan-China” and “The People’s Republic of China – Central Asian Countries”.
A center for Uzbekistan studies and education exchanges was launched on May 15, 2013, at Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Public Diplomacy Institute at Shanghai University.
Beijing and Xi’an hosted Uzbekistan Culture Week in 2011, while China Culture Week took place in 2012 in Tashkent and Samarkand. In 2013, artistic exhibition “Works of Celebrated Artists of Uzbekistan” was organized in several major cities of the PRC.
Culture and art figures of Uzbekistan and China are regular participants of all the principal cultural events held in both countries. Notably, Chinese musicians have been regular and active in the Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival held every two years in Samarkand.
In the education sphere, student and intern exchanges have been enhancing along the governmental and interagency lines, in particular within studies of Uzbek and Chinese. More than 350 students attend the Confucius Institute in Tashkent every year. Uzbek language department was opened in June 2010 at the School of Russian and Central Asian Languages of China’s Central University for Nationalities. Starting from the 2012/2013 academic year, Uzbek language teaching has been underway at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
In accordance with bilateral agreement and within the frameworks of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the government of China assigned scholarships for 120 students and interns from Uzbekistan for the 2013/2014 academic year. Under the aegis of Confucius Institute, some seventy Uzbek students are enrolled at Lanzhou University.
The cooperation agreement signed last year to open Confucius Institute in Samarkand serves for the further development of our interaction in the sphere of education.
The two sides place a special emphasis on the cooperation in tourism. Efforts dedicated to bolster the tour appeal of Uzbekistan for travel lovers from China have been in progress since 2010. Our country’s potential in tourism was presented extensively at the international professional tourism fairs – China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market-2013 (April, Beijing) and WTF-2013 (May, Shanghai).
One should also stress the importance of establishing sister ties between the cities of Tashkent and Shanghai, Samarkand and X’ian, Navoi and Zhuzhou, as well as the Tashkent Region and Hunan Province, Samarkand Region and Shaanxi Province.
On the upshot of negotiations, Islam Karimov and Xi Jinping signed a joint declaration between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the People’s Republic of China. Also, a number of other documents were inked aiming to further intensify the technological-economic cooperation between our two nations, to cement partnership in spheres like energy, high technologies, banking and finance. The two sides adopted a program for the development of strategic partnership relations for 2014-2018.
At the meeting with mass media, the two leaders noted that the talks were held in an atmosphere of mutual respect, confidence and interest, and that the positions and views of the two parties on issues discussed were similar and close. It was particularly stressed that the agreements reached would serve for the further advancement of Uzbek-Chinese relations and growth in the wellbeing of the two peoples.
As it was pointed out, the current visit will become another important stride in the history of Sino-Uzbek ties. The two sides expressed willingness to keep with negotiations at the highest level, to build up cooperation in economy, energy, finance, investments, high technologies, humanitarian bonds, trade.
The state visit of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to the People’s Republic of China continues.