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CHN | May 19, 2023

Summit recap: Xi touts enduring friendship as Central Asia forges ties with China

/ Our Today

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Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (not pictured), ahead of the China-Central Asia Summit in Xian, Shaanxi province, China May 17, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool)

In an era of immense change and shifting global dynamics, the role of Central Asia is becoming
increasingly significant.

As President Xi Jinping stated at the recent China-Central Asia Summit in Shaanxi Province, the world needs a stable, prosperous, harmonious, and interconnected Central Asia. The summit presented a platform for new strategies and opportunities for cooperation, as well as the establishment of a shared future between China and the Central Asian countries namely Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

According to President Xi, the world needs a stable Central Asia. It is crucial to uphold the sovereignty,
security, independence, and territorial integrity of the Central Asian countries. Their people’s choice of
development paths must be respected, and their efforts for peace, harmony, and tranquility should be
supported. In an increasingly complex international environment, maintaining stability becomes a
critical objective.

Central Asia’s prosperity is of global significance. A prosperous and dynamic Central Asia will contribute
to the regional population’s aspirations for a better life, and it will also lend a strong impetus to global
economic recovery, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic’s economic downturn.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev exchange documents during a signing ceremony, ahead of the China-Central Asia Summit in Xian, Shaanxi province, China May 17, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool)

As a Central Asian saying goes, “Brotherhood is more precious than any treasure.” Ethnic conflicts,
religious strife, and cultural estrangement should not be the defining features of the region. Instead,
solidarity, inclusiveness, and harmony should guide the region’s development. No one has the right to
sow discord or stoke confrontation in the region, let alone seek selfish political interests.

This call for harmony extends to international relationships as well, with a clear signal against any form of foreign interference.

He noted that the world needs an interconnected Central Asia. With its unique geographical advantages,
Central Asia is well placed to become a significant connectivity hub of Eurasia. This enhanced
connectivity could significantly contribute to the trading of goods, the interplay of civilisations, and the
development of science and technology worldwide. With digital innovation and infrastructural
development being key to global progress, an interconnected Central Asia is a valuable asset.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadyr Japarov shake hands at a signing ceremony, ahead of the China-Central Asia Summit in Xian, Shaanxi province, China May 18, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool)

President Xi has put forth eight proposals for cooperation between China and Central Asian countries.
These proposals, which focus on strengthening institutional building, expanding economic and trade ties, deepening connectivity, expanding energy cooperation, promoting green innovation, enhancing
development capabilities, strengthening dialogue between civilizations, and safeguarding regional peace, point to a future of deeper, multifaceted cooperation between China and Central Asia.

The world is at a juncture of major changes. It is in this context that President Xi’s vision for a stable, prosperous, harmonious, and interconnected Central Asia is not only important for the region but also for the rest of the world. The implementation of these proposals will be a significant step towards realising this vision, setting a model for international cooperation in the 21st century.


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