On 25 January 2022, the China+Central Asia online summit was held under the chairmanship of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The high-level event was timed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Central Asian countries and China.
The summit was attended by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, President Sadyr Zhaparov of the Kyrgyz Republic, President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan.
Following the summit, a joint statement was released. The final statement calls for a stronger alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the development strategies of the five countries.
The heads of state summarized the outcomes and outlined future areas of cooperation.
The parties, in particular, expressed their determination to advance the strategic partnership through joint efforts that take into account each other’s interests. The heads of state intend to support political and security cooperation, as well as multi-vector practical cooperation based on openness, mutual benefit, and respect for all six states’ interests. They also expressed readiness to continue cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sides also called for the SCO, OIC, ECO, and other international and regional organizations to play a more active role in the region’s stability and socioeconomic development.
No matter how the international landscape may evolve or how developed China may grow, China will always remain a good neighbor, a good partner, a good friend, and a good brother that Central Asian countries can trust and count on, stressed President Xi Jinping during his remarks.
He made some essential statements, demonstrating the growing commitments of China to Central Asin and implying further upswing trends on the whole spectrum of relations in near future:
- Political support. Xi promised that China will continue to firmly support Central Asian countries in following development paths tailored to their national realities, firmly support them in safeguarding sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
- In the context of recent event in Kazakhstan, China firmly opposes any external attempts to foment color revolutions in Central Asia, firmly oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights, and firmly oppose any force that tries to disrupt the tranquility.
- Mutual Trade. China aims to bring the trade with the Central Asia to US$70 billion by 2030. China proposes establishing a dialogue mechanism on e-commerce cooperation among the countries, and holding a forum on industrial and investment cooperation when appropriate.
- Transport and Energy Connectivity. China will speed up the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project and other transport corridors connecting China and Central Asia. Xi called for speeding up the construction of Line D of the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline and expanding cooperation across the energy industrial chain, and promoting low-carbon transition in the energy sector.
- Covid Vaccines and Health Care. In 2022, China will provide an additional aid of 50 million doses of vaccines to Central Asian countries, and set up traditional medicine centers in countries with such need. China also calls for the establishment of a China-Central Asia health industry alliance.
- People-to-people Friendship. China is ready to make all five Central Asian countries approved destinations for Chinese tourists. There is a proposal to hold a China-Central Asia people-to-people friendship forum. China will strive to increase the number of sister cities with the five countries from 58 to 100 pairs in the next five to ten years.
- In the next five years, China will provide 1,200 government scholarships to the five Central Asian countries, with priority on opening Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms.
- Sustainable Development. Recently, China has voiced the Global Development Initiative. In line with the sustainable development agenda, in the next three years, China will provide a grant assistance of US$500 million to Central Asian countries in support of livelihood programs.
- 5,000 seminar and workshop will be offered to help Central Asian countries train professionals in health, poverty reduction for agricultural development, connectivity, information technology and other fields and strengthen the driving force for self-generated development.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed gratitude to President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping for the initiative to convene a summit on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries of Central Asia and China.
“The very fact of its holding testifies to the importance attached to the relations between the countries of Central Asia and the People’s Republic of China, understanding the importance of steadily strengthening our friendship and cooperation,” the head of state noted.
The leader of the nation stressed that it is necessary to move forward on the path of expanding and building up the energy partnership. In this regard, Turkmenistan is ready for a substantive discussion on increasing the volume of natural gas supplies to China through the construction of the 4th pipeline line (Line D).
In his speech, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that the joint fight against the spread of coronavirus and its impact remains an urgent task. In this complicated time for the whole world, the countries of Central Asia and China have shown excellent examples of solidarity and mutual assistance.
Concerning vaccination as a necessary condition for complete victory over the coronavirus, we hope that the established cooperation on this issue with the Chinese side will be successfully continued, the leader of the nation said.
Together we are confidently moving along the path of progress, having clear plans and guidelines, helping and supporting each other, relying on the great historical heritage and understanding of modern trends in the world order. Our bonds are unbreakable and unshakeable today, and I am confident that they will remain so in the future, the President of Turkmenistan stressed at the end of his speech. [This part is an excerpt from TDH report]
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that Kazakhstan is able to increase exports to China in 135 positions, including organic agricultural products and food, by more than US$1 billion.
In January-November 2022, the bilateral trade turnover grew to US $ 17 billion.
Tokayev recalled that Kazakhstan shares the half of the US$40 billion of Chinese total investments in Central Asian economies.
Thus, Kazakhstan is China’s largest trade and investment partner in the region.
In order to develop coordinated approaches on trade and transport connectivity, the Kazakh leader proposed to launch the mechanism of ministerial consultations “Central Asia – China”.
He also came up with a number of initiatives aimed at effective utilizing the opportunities of the Central Asia – China cooperation.
They include diversification of transit and transport routes and the introduction of integrated logistics solutions, including through the launch of new land corridors.
Tokayev stated that Kazakhstan intends to invest US$ 20 billion in these projects by 2025, which will undoubtedly increase transit flows from China while also meeting the region’s growing needs.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to launch the construction of the China–Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan rail line.
The project is significant in terms of ensuring continuous cargo flow and the development of trans–regional logistics networks along the China–Central Asia route.
The Uzbek leader also spoke in favor of developing a strategy for a New economic dialogue “China – Central Asia”, designed to ensure unhindered trade and the creation of a common space for industrial cooperation and localization.
Dear Mr. Chairman of the People’s Republic of China! Dear Heads of State of Central Asia! Your Excellencies!
First of all, let me express my gratitude to His Excellency President of the People’s Republic of China Mr. Xi Jinping for the initiative to convene a summit meeting on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries of Central Asia and China.
The very fact of its holding testifies to the importance attached to relations between the countries of Central Asia and the People’s Republic of China, and the understanding of the importance of steadily strengthening our friendship and cooperation.
The ties between the peoples of Central Asia and China date back many centuries. During this time, a huge and unique experience of interaction, good neighborliness, exchange of knowledge, achievements in science and culture has been accumulated.
The Great Silk Road passed through the territory of Central Asia from China, which became a factor in the development and progress of the entire world civilization.
Relying on this outstanding heritage, the continuity of historical destinies was embodied in the period when the states of Central Asia, having gained independence, received the comprehensive support of China, which was among the first to open its diplomatic missions in our capitals. China has provided us with serious support in establishing ourselves on the international arena, has taken important steps in the beginning and further development of a full-fledged, mutually beneficial and equal economic and trade partnership.
Today, cooperation between our countries has a noticeable constructive impact on ensuring global peace and stability. It is based on the similarity or coincidence of our approaches to fundamental issues on the global agenda. Together with China, the countries of Central Asia stand for equality and justice in international affairs, unconditional respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states, for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, support the measures taken by the world community to effectively counter international terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, new challenges, including in the field of cyber and biosecurity.
I am convinced that our states, using their authority, and well-established mechanisms of cooperation, can make an important joint contribution to establishing a new agenda of peace and trust in international affairs, reducing tension, de-escalating conflicts, moving to dialogue and negotiation methods for resolving disputes and contradictions based on the UN Charter .
As is known, at the initiative of Turkmenistan, 2021 was declared by the UN General Assembly the International Year of Peace and Trust. We see that events in the world are becoming unpredictable and becoming more unstable. In such circumstances, only the restoration of trust and adherence to generally recognized international legal norms will make it possible to correct the situation.
At the International Conference “The Policy of Peace and Trust – the Basis of International Security, Stability and Development” held in Ashgabat on December 11, 2021, Turkmenistan put forward a new philosophy of international relations.
We called it “Dialogue is a guarantee of peace.” We consider the People’s Republic of China and the countries of Central Asia as our key partners and like-minded people in the effective implementation of this formula in international practice.
Here we look forward to joint work in the United Nations and other international structures where the practice of mutual support of each other’s initiatives has been established.
We assign a special place to the situation in Central Asia. Here, the basic principles of our countries are also close: the states of the region and the People’s Republic of China stand for the creation of a strong security system in this part of the globe.
In this context, I would like to emphasize that the issues of ensuring security and stability have been and remain topical topics on the regional agenda.
We hope that China, as a neighboring state and as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will continue to support the efforts of the Central Asian countries to create the political, economic, social and other conditions necessary for the predictable, predictable and sustainable development of the region.
Dear heads of state!
The combined potential, powerful resource, and industrial and technological base open up huge prospects for cooperation in the economy. One of its priorities is the fuel and energy sector, the flagship of which was the construction and commissioning at the end of 2009 of the strategic gas pipeline Turkmenistan-China, passing through the territories of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The implementation of this project was an example of a truly partnership based on equality, awareness of multilateral benefits, on a large-scale vision of the prospects and opportunities that opened up with the start of the gas pipeline.
I believe that we need to move forward along the path of expanding and building up our energy partnership. In this regard, Turkmenistan is ready for a substantive discussion of the issues of increasing the volume of natural gas supplies to China through the construction of the 4th pipeline line.
The presence of objective mutual interests allows the countries of Central Asia and China to successfully build up partnerships in the transport sector.
In this regard, the project “Revival of the Great Silk Road” put forward by the Turkmen side is designed to give a powerful impetus to economic development in Eurasia, uniting vast expanses from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean on modern principles, forming interconnected production and technological cycles and industrial belts, contributing to the solution of many social problems, improving the quality of life and well-being of peoples.
I am convinced that the cornerstone of the new image of geo-economics on our continent should be the diversification of cooperation. This is an objective process, and in it any constructive ideas, strategies and initiatives are designed to complement each other based on a combination of interests and long-term goals.
In this context, I believe that the “Revival of the Great Silk Road” project, in its philosophy and geo-economic meaning, is connected with the Chinese global initiative “One Belt, One Road”.
We proceed from the importance of strengthening cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, education and sports. I think we should take a closer look at the state of scientific and cultural ties. The peoples of Central Asia and China gave the world outstanding scientists, inventors, thinkers, we are the heirs and keepers of the richest cultural and scientific traditions, and there is a huge mutual interest in cooperation in the humanitarian sphere.
Therefore, we need to encourage this interest, actively promote broad cultural and scientific exchanges so that they take place on a regular basis.
Dear heads of state!
The joint fight against the spread of coronavirus and its consequences remains an urgent task. In this difficult time for the whole world, the countries of Central Asia and China have demonstrated excellent examples of solidarity and mutual assistance.
This was manifested in the organization of numerous online meetings of specialists to exchange accumulated experience, and in the vaccination of the population, the provision of mutual support to citizens of our countries who ended up on the territory of other states of the region, and the provision of necessary cargo transportation.
I would also like to highlight the common approach of the states of Central Asia and China to international cooperation in combating the pandemic. First of all, we are talking about the support by our countries of the UN General Assembly Resolution on global solidarity in the fight against coronavirus disease, adopted during its 74th session. Our countries recognize the leading role of the WHO in the global fight against the pandemic and oppose its politicization.
The need to unite all the scientific forces of the world in studying the origin of the coronavirus is one of the most important conditions for the successful fight against this global challenge.
We believe that in the Central Asia-China format, we could soon begin to create a mechanism for regular meetings between representatives of the scientific and medical communities of our countries, epidemiological and sanitary services, and other relevant departments. We propose to hold the first such meeting this year.
As for vaccination as a necessary condition for a complete victory over the coronavirus, we hope for the successful continuation of the established cooperation on this issue with the Chinese side.
Dear Chairman Xi Jinping!
China will soon host the Winter Olympics. I am sure that they will be held at the highest level and will become a real celebration of sports, peace and friendship for millions of people around the world. I wish our Chinese friends success in hosting the upcoming Olympics and congratulate all the Chinese people on this great event.
Dear leaders! Dear friends!
This year will be marked by the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries of Central Asia and the People’s Republic of China. This period has become a time of creation, joint achievements, constructive cooperation in all areas, awareness of the commonality of strategic development tasks, strengthening the bonds of friendship, deep sympathy and mutual understanding between our peoples.
Together we confidently follow the path of progress, having clear plans and guidelines, helping and supporting each other, relying on the great historical heritage and understanding of modern trends in the world order. Our relations today are indestructible and unshakable, and I am convinced that they will always be so.
I congratulate the esteemed Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, the esteemed Presidents of the states of Central Asia and, in their person, the fraternal peoples on this glorious anniversary.
I wish you all good health, peace, happiness, well-being and prosperity. /// nCa, 26 January 2022