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Xi focus: Xi charts course for China-Central Asia cooperation

china central asia summit joint press conference in xian
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyzstan's President Sadyr Japarov, Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon, Turkmenistan's President Serdar Berdymukhamedov and Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev pose for pictures at a group photo session during the China-Central Asia Summit in Xian, Shaanxi province, China May 19, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool

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.

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, Xi said.
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, Xi said.

More trade facilitation measures will be rolled out and bilateral investment agreements will be upgraded to bring trade volume to a new height, Xi 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, Xi 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, Xi said. Chinese-funded businesses will be encouraged to create more local jobs. China will provide 26 billion yuan (about 3.72 billion U.S. dollars) 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, Xi said.

Xi 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. 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.

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, Xi said.

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