By Gong Ming, Zhou Hanbo, People’s Daily
China has developed strategic partnerships with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan since it established diplomatic ties with the five Central Asian countries 31 years ago, blazing a new path of good-neighborliness, friendship and win-win cooperation, thereby setting up a paradigm for a new type of international relations.
Under the strategic guidance of head-of-state diplomacy, China has deepened practical cooperation with the five countries and achieved fruitful results in bilateral and multilateral cooperation in agriculture, trade, investment, infrastructure and other fields.
From May 1 to 12, a number of featured products from Central Asian countries were displayed at an e-commerce exhibition held in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province, including fruit puree and juice from Kazakhstan, natural mineral water from Uzbekistan and traditional handbags from Tajikistan. The exhibition showcased the strong vitality of China-Central Asia economic and trade cooperation.
Trade between China and the five Central Asian countries set a record high last year. In the first two months this year, the trade volume saw year-on-year growth of 22 percent, maintaining strong momentum of development.
By the end of 2022, China’s direct investment stock in the five Central Asian countries reached nearly $15 billion, with a number of cooperation projects launched in fields such as oil and gas exploration, processing and manufacturing, connectivity and digital technologies, bringing tangible benefits to people in these countries.
On April 26 in 2023, foreign ministers from China and the five countries jointly pushed the lever, launching the Chang’an Train from Xi’an to Central Asia commemorating the 10th anniversary of the China-Europe Railway Express and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), at the Xi’an International Trade & Logistics Park in northwest China’s Shaanxi province.
Over the past ten years, the Chang’an China-Europe freight train service has operated over 16,000 trips, including over 4,250 trips to Central Asian countries. These trips witnessed the rapid development and remarkable results of the BRI in Central Asia.
Central Asia is where the BRI was initiated and has grown into a model area that sees tangible results of BRI cooperation. All relevant parties have actively pursued synergetic development between the BRI and their own development strategies and launched efficient cooperation projects.
A large batch of mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation have been completed under the framework of the BRI, such as the China-Kazakhstan crude oil pipeline, the China-Central Asia gas pipeline, a China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan highway, the Pengsheng Industrial Park and a China-Tajikistan-Uzbekistan highway, bringing tangible benefits to the people in the region.
China and the five Central Asian countries have constantly deepened and expanded BRI cooperation. Together, they promoted the construction of the China-Central Asia transport corridor and the fourth line of the China-Central Asia gas pipeline project. They also strengthened cooperation on artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and other high technologies.
Uzbek Ambassador to China Farhod Arziev noted that Uzbekistan attaches high importance to strengthening cooperation with China in various fields and will continue promoting the synergetic development between Uzbek strategies and the BRI for better development.
China and Tajikistan have jointly built a textile industrial park in Tajikistan, which employs advanced digital and intelligent agricultural machinery and textile equipment. Products produced in the industrial park have gained a foothold in the global high-end market.
A dairy factory jointly built by China and Kazakhstan in Kazakhstan”s Turkistan has been put into operation. Its camel dairy products are very popular among Chinese consumers.
In the Sirdaryo region of Uzbekistan, a China-Uzbekistan demonstration park of modern agricultural technology has been put into use. It has introduced a number of new varieties of high oleic peanuts, oil sunflowers, soybeans and corn.
From capacity cooperation to sci-tech exchanges and talent training, China and the five Central Asian countries have continuously deepened agricultural cooperation and built an agricultural partnership that carries rich connotations and brims with strong vitality.
Agricultural trade between the two sides continues to expand. More Chinese enterprises have settled in the five Central Asian countries for investment and development, whose cooperation projects cover many fields including the processing of wheat flour and vegetable oil, cotton planting and textile. They are contributing to the local agricultural development.
A training program on advanced and applicable agricultural technology for Central Asia was launched by China this April. More than 80 trainees from the five Central Asian countries joined the program and learned about China’s experience and application of water-conservation technologies, facility agriculture technologies and environmental protection in agricultural production.
Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Kuchkarov said China’s achievements and experience in poverty alleviation, as well as agricultural rural development, are worth learning from. Uzbekistan is willing to work with China to promote poverty alleviation cooperation, so as to achieve win-win results and bring more benefits to the two peoples, he added.