China, Uzbekistan elevate ties to comprehensive strategic partnership

China and Uzbekistan upgraded their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership Wednesday after talks between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov.

The two countries outlined the cooperation plan for their new partnership in such areas as political mutual trust and support, the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, national and regional security, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and collaboration on international affairs.

The upgrade was based on the "unprecedented high standard of China-Uzbekistan high-level interaction, political mutual trust and win-win cooperation" they have scored since establishing a strategic partnership in 2012, said a joint statement.

The two countries pledged to continue supporting each other on issues concerning their core interest, and not allow a third country or any group to conduct activities on their soil that will harm the other side's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.

China and Uzbekistan will maintain regular contacts on all levels, have timely exchange of views on major bilateral, regional and international issues and promote cooperation between government departments, legislatures, social groups, enterprises and financial institutions of the two countries, said the statement.

The Chinese side thinks highly of Uzbekistan's development achievements since its independence 25 years ago, firmly supports its choice of development path based on national conditions, and understands as well as respects the Uzbek government's measures to maintain stability and to advance social and economic progress, said the document.

For its part, Uzbekistan reaffirmed its stance in upholding the one-China policy and against "Taiwan independence" in any form, stating that Taiwan and Tibet are indispensable parts of the Chinese territory, and that the Uzbek side supports the peaceful development of cross-strait ties and all efforts made by the Chinese government to realize peaceful reunification.

On the economic front, the two countries will push for the implementation of previously agreed projects and strengthen win-win cooperation in wide-ranging fields such as high-tech, trade, investment, energy, transportation, agriculture and finance, so as to render full support to the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

They will also explore joint projects in such areas as road machinery production, oil and gas, chemistry, food processing, building materials, transportation infrastructure, irrigation, soil reclamation, rural housing and people's livelihood, said the document.

China and Uzbekistan both consider the "three evil forces," namely terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as drug trafficking, cyber crimes and various forms of organized cross-border crimes to be grave threats to their two countries' and regional security and stability.

In addressing these problems, the two sides will carry out law enforcement cooperation, share intelligence and jointly crack down on such crimes. They will also keep closer communication and exchanges on cyber security, defense and military technology.

The statement included further China-Uzbekistan cooperation on culture, education, science, sports, tourism and archaeology, as well as friendly communication between their media outlets, academic institutions and non-governmental groups.

Noting that collaboration on international issues will demonstrate their high-level strategic mutual trust, the two countries agreed to strengthen mutual support and cooperation within multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), coordinate their stances on major international and regional issues, and jointly address such challenges.

They called on the international community to respect Central Asia's history, culture and traditions and join hands in promoting regional development and prosperity.

The Chinese side highly appreciates Uzbekistan's contributions as the SCO presidency in driving the organization's development and preparing for the SCO Council of Heads of State in Tashkent, the statement said.

Xi is in Uzbekistan for a state visit. He will also attend the SCO summit on Thursday and Friday.

Uzbekistan is the third and final stop of Xi's three-nation tour, which has taken him to Serbia and Poland.

Source: Xinhua