Samarkand, 16 September 2022 (TDI): The President of China, Xi Jingping met the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Thursday. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 22nd SCO Heads of State Summit.

The meeting took place at the newly built International Conference Center in Samarkand.

During the meeting, both leaders highlighted 30 years of diplomatic relations between China and Uzbekistan. During this time period, both countries have worked in partnership for mutual benefits.

The Presidents also agreed to deepen cooperation in areas including interconnected transport infrastructure, free economic zones, and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Discussion on strengthening Bilateral Relations

The Presidents of both states discussed the establishment of a strategic partnership between both countries 10 years ago. They said that both countries have built efficient collaboration mechanisms in areas like politics, diplomacy, economy, and trade.

Additionally, President Xi emphasized that both countries should firmly support each other on issues concerning national sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. He said it will help in fostering collective development strategies and promote common development.

In response, President Mirziyoyev said that the visit of the Chinese President will surely elevate Uzbekistan-China comprehensive partnership to a new height.

Moreover, describing President Xi as his respected elder brother, President Mirziyoyev expressed his expectation to maintain close exchanges with President Xi in the future.

Uzbekistan’s President also expressed a firm commitment to the one-China policy. He said that Uzbekistan supports China’s position on matters concerning its core interests including those in Taiwan and Xinjiang.

Trade and Investment

During the meeting, President Xi welcomed Uzbekistan to take an active part in the China International Import Expo. Moreover, he said that China is ready to work with Uzbekistan to improve the trans-Eurasia transportation corridor.

Additionally, President Xi highlighted the expansion of energy cooperation to ensure the safe operation of the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline. He said it will also help in fostering a new pattern of all-dimensional energy cooperation.

President Xi pointed out that China and Central Asian countries have a shared future and a deep stake in each other’s security and stability. Therefore, he said that China is ready to work more closely with Uzbekistan to firmly oppose external interference in internal affairs.

Additionally, the two sides agreed to enhance synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development strategy of “New Uzbekistan” for 2022-2026.

Discussion about SCO and Central Asia

During their meeting, the Chinese President appreciated Uzbekistan’s SCO Presidency.

President Xi expressed that China appreciates Uzbekistan’s important contributions to the success of the SCO Samarkand Summit. He said that China is ready to work with Uzbekistan to promote the steady and sustained development of the SCO.

Additionally, China also affirmed working with regional countries to strengthen the “China Plus Central Asia” relations and broaden cooperation between China and Central Asian countries.

President Mirziyoyev also expressed readiness to work more closely with China in the SCO, “China Plus Central Asia”, and BRICS-plus mechanisms. He highlighted that it would help in upholding the Shanghai Spirit and jointly safeguard the security and stability of the region.

The Chinese President also affirmed to work with Uzbekistan to actively implement the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and Global Security Initiative (GSI). He said it will contribute to building a more just and equitable international governance system.

On the other hand, President Mirziyoyev noted that under President Xi Jinping, China has made remarkable achievements in its development.

He extended best wishes for a successful 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Discussion on Afghanistan

China and Uzbekistan also reaffirmed that a peaceful, stable, developing and prosperous Afghanistan serves the common interests of all regional countries.

They underlined their respect for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and ethnic unity of Afghanistan. Therefore, both sides stressed non-interference in the country’s domestic affairs and uphold the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” principle.

Further, both Presidents agreed to enhance coordination on Afghanistan-related issues within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Accordingly, they aimed to advance peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Collaboration projects

During the meetings on the sideline of the SCO heads Summit, a trilateral memorandum was also signed.

Consequently, officials of China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan signed an agreement of understanding concerning cooperation on the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway.

All three sides agreed to speed up the railway construction in a bid to deepen interconnected transport infrastructure and effective transportation channels between China and Uzbekistan.

The agreement was signed by the Kyrgyz Republic’s Transport and Communications Ministry, the Transport Ministry of Uzbekistan, and the National Development and Reform Commission of China,

Relevant departments of the two governments also signed multiple cooperation documents. This includes agriculture, digital economy, green development, culture, sub-national cooperation, and media.

During the leaders’ meeting, both sides highlighted working closely for the completion of these projects.

Concluding the meeting, the Presidents of China and Uzbekistan affirmed to work closely to enhance bilateral relations in the future. President Mirziyoyev also invited President Xi to jointly plant an oak tree. It was planted at the square outside the north entrance of the International Conference Center.

The tree stands as a symbol of longevity, the oak tree signifies that the China-Uzbekistan friendship will thrive and endure.

Order of Friendship

Additionally, President Xi received the Order of Friendship conferred by President Mirziyoyev. The Order of Friendship is the highest honor conferred by Uzbekistan to foreign individuals.

It recognizes their special contribution to growing friendly relations with Uzbekistan.

It also highlights their role in resolving international and regional hotspot issues or supporting the national development of Uzbekistan. This is the first time Uzbekistan is awarding the Order.

SCO Summit

The President of China is visiting Uzbekistan to attend the SCO Heads summit. The Summit is being held in Samarkand from 15 to 16 September.

Also Read: Highlights from SCO Summit 2022

Heads of Russia, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, and many other countries are also participating in the Summit. During the Summit, leaders will have discussions on various topics including efforts to raise the potential of SCO and ensure peace and stability in the region is held.