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Jointly Build Silk Road in the New Era with Mutual Learning of Civilization and Common Development

——Foreign Minister Wang Yi on President Xi Jinping's State Visit to Four Central Asian Nations and Attending SCO Summit in Bishkek

2013/09/14

From Sept. 3 to 13, 2013, President Xi Jinping paid state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and attended the SCO Summit in Bishkek. At the close of the visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked about the visit.

Wang Yi said that Central Asian countries and China are connected by common mountains and rivers, which are interdepent and have gone through thick and thin together. The ancient Silk Road has bound us together since a long time ago. Central Asia has become the safety barriers of China's northwest frontier and a strategic partner in trade and energy. At present, the international and regional situation has undergone profound and complex changes, and countries in the region not only have the opportunities of realizing common development through complementary advantages in economy, but also are faced with common challenges, such as interference and infiltration from external forces, and the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism. All countries hope to strengthen bilateral cooperation, solidarity and cooperation within the SCO, and create a peaceful, stable and safe neighboring environment. President Xi Jinping's first visit to the four Central Asian countries and attendance of the SCO Summit is aimed at maintaining neighboring stability and serving domestic development. It is another major diplomatic action of our country.

Wang Yi said that the visit was of rich content and a clear goal, and it was practical, efficient and with many highlights. The host countries attached great importance to Xi Jinping's visit, and all have made special arrangements with the highest courtesy. Wherever President Xi Jinping went, the boundless hospitality of friendship followed, the fruits of cooperation were harvested, and the media attentions were focused.

First, a close friendship and a high degree of trust among the heads of state was established. Presidents of the four countries accompanied President Xi Jinping almost throughout the activities. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov accompanied Xi Jinping to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Fuxing Gas Field, and they had in-depth talks all the way. President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev accompanied Xi Jinping to visit his hometown Almaty, and the two heads had Chinese breakfast on the Chinese special plane. Uzbek President Islam Karimov accompanied Xi Jinping to visit historical and cultural relics at Tashkent and Samarkand, and personally acted as a narrator. Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and Xi Jinping had an in-depth talk, which was prolonged over and again. The heads had many long talks on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues, they talked freely about the ancient and modern times, stretching across China and foreign countries, and they spoke deeply and discussed candidly with each other. Review history to get enlightened, face the future and plan blueprint. Heads of the four countries all said that they cherish the friendship with President Xi Jinping, and hope to maintain close communication and exchanges and to strengthen the top-level design of bilateral relations and political guidance. President Islam Karimov said that President Xi Jinping is easy-going and with profound thinking, confidence and charisma. President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that talks with President Xi Jinping brought mutual trust to a new high.

Second, the level of relationship between China and Central Asian countries was comprehensively uplifted. During the visit, China established strategic partnership with Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan respectively, deepened the comprehensive strategic partnership with Kazakhstan, and signed the Treaty on China-Uzbekistan Friendly and Cooperative Partnership with Uzbekistan, further developing and deepening strategic partnership. Turkmenistan is a permanent neutralized state recognized by the United Nations, and China has become the first country to establish strategic partnership with it. During the visit, comprehensive strategic upgrade of bilateral relations between China and Central Asian countries was achieved. President Xi Jinping comprehensively and systematically set forth the policies of the Chinese government on Central Asia, stressing that China respects the people of Central Asian countries to choose their own development path and that the two sides firmly support each other on major issues concerning key interests, such as national sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and stability. China will in no circumstances interfere in the internal affairs of Central Asian countries. China does not seek to dominate regional affairs or establish any sphere of influence. China and Central Asian countries should be good neighbors living in harmony, good friends with mutual trust, and good partners with mutual benefits and win-win cooperation. The four countries agreed that China's relations with Central Asian countries are a model of good-neighborly friendship, mutual benefits and win-win cooperation. China is a strong and reliable friend and partner for the Central Asian countries. They admire that China has found a right development road, and believe that under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people will certainly be able to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. Nursultan Nazarbayev said that the socialist road with Chinese characteristics has been a huge success and the people of Kazakhstan regard China's development and prosperity as their own. If China is good, Kazakhstan will be good.

Third, the strategic conception of jointly building an "economic belt along the Silk Road" was proposed. The central Asian countries are located along the ancient Silk Road with a general need to strengthen regional cooperation, and that is how the idea of "economic belt along the Silk Road" comes into being. President Xi Jinping further proposed that the cooperation mode needs to be innovated to build an "economic belt along the Silk Road", and that we should reinforce policy communication, road connectivity, unimpeded trade, monetary circulation, and understanding between the people. We may start with work in individual areas and link them up over time to cover the whole region. President Xi Jinping talked about the past and the present, pointing out that the history of exchanges along the ancient Silk Road proves that on the basis of solidarity, mutual trust, equality, inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win cooperation, countries of different races, beliefs and cultural backgrounds are fully capable of sharing peace and development, which won the recognition and support from the heads of the four countries. President Nursultan Nazarbayev said immediately that an information Silk Road can be built in the first place. President Xi Jinping and the heads of the four countries all agreed to establish long-term and stable energy cooperative relationship. Turkmenistan decided to increase gas supplies to China, and to reach an agreement with China to start the construction of the fourth China-Central Asia nature gas pipeline (Line D) as soon as possible. Kazakhstan confirmed to strive to complete the third pipeline of Kazakh part within this year, and to realize operation at the beginning of next year. Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan respectively signed the fourth pipeline transit agreement with China, and agreed to build the pipeline into a big energy channel that is safe, reliable, and beneficial to all parties. China and the four countries also reached new important consensus on expanding cooperation in non-resource area, expanding trade scale, strengthening connectivity and carrying out cooperation in areas including agriculture, science and technology and the adjacent areas, and agreed on a new batch of large cooperation projects. During the visit, a total of 38 cooperation agreements among governments and enterprises were signed, covering a vast range of fields, a large amount of money and a long span of time. Both sides agreed to carry on the Silk Road Spirit to enhance cultural communication and mutual learning, and reached consensus on establishing cultural centers, setting up Confucius Institute, strengthening non-governmental exchanges, especially exchanges between young students, and establishing sister province or state (city) relations. The "economic belt along the Silk Road" is a significant strategic concept proposed by China to keep up with the development trend of the era and the common aspirations of all countries in the region, and to promote regional cooperation. It will certainly release huge development potential, bring countries in the region closer, and deepen cooperation and expand development space, bringing benefits to nearly 3 billion people.

Fourth, healthy and pragmatic development of the SCO was enhanced. Through 12 years of development, the SCO has become an effective mechanism and a constructive force in safeguarding regional security and stability and in promoting common development of the SCO member states. Under the current complex and changeable international and regional situation, the development of the SCO is faced with new challenges, which requires member states to build consensus, strengthen cooperation, join hands and make long-term planning. At the summit, President Xi Jinping set forth a series of important proposals to guide all parties to further carry forward the "Shanghai Spirit" and to build a community of shared fate and interests. Xi called on all SCO members to firmly support each other on major issues concerning core interests, to jointly safeguard regional security and stability, to comprehensively promote pragmatic cooperation, and to strengthen cultural exchanges and people-to-people friendship. All other parties actively responded to Xi Jinping's proposals, and decided to strengthen dialogue and coordination, consolidate good-neighborly relations, strengthen security cooperation, jointly combat "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism as well as drug trafficking and transnational organized crimes, and continue to promote the establishment of SCO Development Bank and special account. The Bishkek Declaration released at the meeting fully absorbed China's policy proposals. The Implementation Outline of the Treaty of Long-term Good-Neighborly and Friendly Cooperation among SCO Members that China proposes and takes the lead in establishing, approved by the meeting, embodies China's important role in leading and shaping the future development of the SCO. The above have laid a more solid foundation for deepening pragmatic cooperation among member states.

In the end, Wang Yi said that over 2,100 years ago during China's Han Dynasty, a Chinese envoy Zhang Qian was sent to Centra Asia. His journeys opened up the ancient Silk Road and opened the door to friendly contacts between China and Central Asian countries as well as the channel of cultural exchanges between east and west. Time brings great changes. Today, the tie of friendly cooperation between China and Central Asia, once again, starts to carry a new mission, to breed a new life, and to stimulate new vitality. President Xi Jinping's visit to the four Central Asian countries and attendance of the SCO Summit opens new prospects of good-neighborly and friendly regional cooperation, writes a new chapter in the exchange and mutual learning among different civilizations, and ushers in a new era of common development of the Silk Road. It is of great significance and far-reaching influence for China to speed up the pace of opening to the West, to build a good neighboring environment, and to maintain the period of important strategic opportunities. We will press ahead to implement the various fruits of the visit, adhere to the neighboring diplomatic policy of harmony, security and prosperity, insist on the opening-up strategy of mutual benefits and win-win cooperation, steadily push forward the major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, and serve to realize the goal of "Two 100 Years", making greater contributions to maintaining world peace and promoting common development.

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