The first foreign ministers’ meeting China+ Central Asia has confirmed strong consensus of attending countries on a number of partnership areas and agreed to turn the six-sided talks into regular platform.
“The participants had an in-depth exchange of views on four topics: strengthening cooperation against COVID-19, promoting economic recovery, maintaining regional security and enhancing international coordination”, said Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson Hua Chunying during the press briefing on Saturday.
The online meeting adopted a joint statement and decided to establish a “regular meeting mechanism of C+C5 foreign ministers, which will be a new and important platform for deepening bilateral strategic partnership”.
According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the sides reached nine consensuses on advancing cooperation between China and Central Asian countries and promoting regional peace and development.
- First, the development, stability and prosperity of China and Central Asian countries serve the common interests of all parties. All parties respect each other’s choice of development path based on national conditions and stand ready to jointly make contributions to safeguarding regional peace, stability and prosperity.
- Second, all parties speak highly of the outcomes of the anti-epidemic cooperation between China and Central Asian countries, which embodies the vision of a community with a shared future. They expressed willingness to further strengthen COVID-19 prevention and control cooperation and set up the “fast tracks” for personnel exchange and “green passages” for the flow of goods at an early date.
- Third, all parties will continue to seek complementarity between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development strategies of Central Asian countries, further expand trade volumes, and build more consensus and take concrete actions on building the silk road for health and the digital silk road.
- Fourth, all parties will support the building of partnership through enhancing connectivity, explore more trans-border routes that meet the needs and serve the benefits of all parties, and enable Central Asia to play its important role as a transport hub on the Eurasian continent.
- Fifth, all parties will strengthen agricultural cooperation to ensure food security. China welcomes Central Asian countries to increase their exports of high-quality and green agricultural products to China.
- Sixth, all parties will expand high-tech cooperation in e-commerce, smart cities, artificial intelligence and the application of big data technology, and jointly forge a digital economic partnership.
- Seventh, all parties condemn terrorism and advocate jointly fighting against terrorism, extremism and separatism, drug trafficking and organized transnational crimes.
- Eighth, all parties unanimously support the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and stand ready to play a constructive role in promoting intra-Afghan talks, restoring peace and stability, advancing economic reconstruction and strengthening regional cooperation.
- Ninth, all parties should further strengthen cooperation in the UN and other multilateral mechanisms, jointly defend multilateralism, jointly oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and uphold international fairness and justice.
“Cooperation between China and Central Asia is based on the common needs of both sides. It does not target any third party, nor does it affect bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the region!” stressed Hua Chunying.
She also reminded that China and Central Asia, linked by mountains and rivers, have long history of diplomatic, political and economic engagement.
More than 2,100 years ago, when Zhang Qian was sent as a diplomatic envoy of the Han dynasty to the Western Regions, China began a historical chapter of friendly exchanges with Central Asian countries.
Twenty-eight years ago, China was among the first to establish diplomatic relations with the C5 countries. /// nCa, 20 July 2020