Nations tout substantial progress in Central Asia

Politicians and officials from China and Central Asian countries hailed the rapid development of relations over the past three decades and called for closer cooperation in various fields, including trade, regional security and the joint construction of the Belt and Road at a forum on Wednesday.

Delegates from China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation addressed the Ninth China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum, which was held both online and offline in the cities of Beijing, Shenyang and Dalian.

Shen Yueyue, vice-chairwoman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, called on China and Central Asian countries to commit to the four principles for developing bilateral ties.

The principles President Xi Jinping put forward at a January summit celebrating the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties are mutual respect, good-neighborly friendship, solidarity in trying times and mutual benefit.

The countries should strengthen high-level exchanges and strategic communication, keep enhancing political mutual trust, expand cooperation in various fields and promote the development of key projects such as the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, Shen said.

Breakthroughs have been made in cooperation between Central Asian countries and China over the past three decades, creating a model for a new type of inter-country exchange on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutually beneficial cooperation, Kazakhstan's Ambassador to China Shakhrat Nuryshev said.

Speaking highly of Tajikistan-China ties, Tajikistan's Ambassador to China Saidzoda Zohir Ozod said trade and investment are the priorities of cooperation between the two countries, and called for them to continue to expand bilateral trade.

Uzbek Ambassador Farhod Arziev said his country has conducted active cooperation with other Central Asian countries and China to maintain regional stability and security, of which the fight against separatism, extremism and terrorism is a key aspect. Uzbekistan will continue to promote such cooperation as the current SCO chair, he said.