On July 16, 2020 Member of the State Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan M.B. Tleuberdi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic Ch.A. Aidarbekov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan S. Mukhriddin, Vice- Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.O. Meredov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan A.Kh. Kamilov (hereinafter referred to as the Parties) held the first ministerial meeting “Central Asia – China” in the format of a video conference.
The heads of foreign affairs agencies, having exchanged views on cooperation in combating the pandemic, economic recovery, maintaining regional security and enhancing international cooperation, declare the following:
- The Sides expressed a unanimous opinion that the development, stability and prosperity of China and the Central Asian states meet the common interests of the Sides. Over the 28 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, obvious results have been achieved in multifaceted cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the five Central Asian states, which has become an example of a new type of interstate relations characterized by mutual respect, equal cooperation and mutual benefit.
The parties respect each other’s path of development, chosen in accordance with the national characteristics of the country, provide firm support in matters relating to fundamental interests, such as state sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. The parties highly appreciate the strategic partnership established between China and the five Central Asian states, and are committed to its further development in the interests of preserving peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
- The parties noted the fruitful cooperation between China and the Central Asian states in the fight against coronavirus infection, which embodies the concept of cooperation for a common future. The parties unanimously emphasized the colossal threat and serious challenge that has arisen in all countries of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and noted the inadmissibility of discrimination, discrediting, racism and xenophobia in the fight against it.
The parties are ready to further strengthen cooperation in the field of epidemiology, the development of vaccines and traditional medicine, strive to form an effective partnership in the field of health between China and Central Asia, and to maintain close interaction with international structures, in particular the World Health Organization.
- The parties will further promote the alignment and harmonization of the Belt and Road Initiative with the national development strategies of those Central Asian countries that are interested in this, form an interconnected partnership, deepen multifaceted cooperation in the practical sphere, jointly ensure the safe and successful implementation of large joint projects by ensuring investment efficiency, simulate economic recovery and development.
Connectedness in the fight against COVID-19 plays an important role in rebuilding global trade and economic ties and contributing to post-pandemic economic recovery.
The parties recognize it is expedient to increase the volume of mutual trade, improve its structure and deepen investment, financial and credit cooperation. China is ready to create an “express corridor” for the convenient movement of business and technical personnel, a “green corridor” for uninterrupted simplified cross-border freight traffic with those Central Asian states that are interested in this.
The Parties support the creation of an integrated and multifunctional system of infrastructural connectivity and sustainable transport architecture, encourage the development of integrated and multimodal communications, including road and rail routes, and contribute to strengthening the transit potential of Central Asia as a strategic transport and economic corridor between Europe and Asia.
China is ready to support Central Asian partners in increasing agricultural productivity and increasing the added value of products, welcomes and supports the expansion of supplies to the Chinese market of high-quality, environmentally friendly and organic agricultural products from Central Asian countries.
The parties are committed to actively expanding cooperation in the field of high technologies, including e-commerce, smart cities, artificial intelligence and big data, and strive to jointly build a digital partnership.
The parties emphasized the importance of strengthening cross-border cooperation, interregional interaction, establishing twinning ties, expanding contacts between people, which are important components of bilateral relations between China and Central Asian countries.
The parties welcome the decision of the G20 countries to suspend debt service payments to the world’s least developed countries in order to facilitate their economic recovery and sustainable development.
- Strongly condemning terrorism, extremism and separatism in all their manifestations, the Sides once again state a serious threat to security and stability in the region, emanating from the “three forces of evil”. The importance of continuing, in the spirit of the concept of common, comprehensive, joint and sustainable security, deepening cooperation in the field of security, combating the “three forces of evil”, drug trafficking and transborder organized crime, ensuring regional security and stability is noted.
The sides strongly support the peace process in Afghanistan, are ready to play a constructive role in promoting inter-Afghan dialogue, establishing peace and stability in this country, restoring the national economy, and further involving Afghanistan in regional integration processes.
- The parties emphasize that China and the Central Asian states have coinciding or similar positions on a number of topical issues on the international and regional agenda. China supports the development of regional cooperation and consultative meetings of the heads of state of Central Asia, as well as their constructive role in international and regional affairs. The parties intend to further build up cooperation within the UN and other international institutions, as well as financial structures, together to confront global and regional challenges, firmly uphold a multilateral approach, oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries, defend international justice, promote the world order and the system of global governance in line with fair and rational development.
- The parties decided to create a format of meetings of foreign ministers “Central Asia – China” in order to promote mutually beneficial cooperation in new conditions and jointly counter global challenges in defense of common interests.
The parties agreed that the meetings of the foreign ministers “Central Asia – China” will be held, as a rule, once a year. If necessary, extraordinary meetings can be organized by agreement of all parties. /// Translation by nCa, 22 July 2020