The city of Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, has captured global attention as the two-day China-Central Asia Summit kicked off here Thursday.
The summit is expected to boost the already-burgeoning Belt and Road cooperation between China and Central Asia. Officials from Central Asian countries and global observers have said that deepened Belt and Road cooperation between the two sides will be a boon for the prosperity of both the region and the world.
Ten years into Belt and Road cooperation, China and Central Asian countries have made historic achievements. In 2022, trade volume hit a record high of 70.2 billion U.S. dollars, an over 100-fold increase since diplomatic ties were established about three decades ago. In the first two months of this year, trade between China and the five Central Asian countries surged 22 percent year on year.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been very fruitful since it was first proposed by China in Kazakhstan, said Timur Kuvatov, director-general and editor-in-chief of Kazakhstan Today News Agency.
Reviving the visions and spirits embodied in the ancient Silk Road will promote international development and trade and economic ties, as well as peaceful relations among countries, he said, adding that deeper Belt and Road cooperation has great significance for all the people living in the region and the whole world.
Over the past decade, promoted by the BRI, China and Uzbekistan have enjoyed expanding economic cooperation. "China is one of the most important partners of Uzbekistan," Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of Uzbekistan Laziz Kudratov said at a business forum held Wednesday ahead of the China-Central Asia Summit.
In 2022, bilateral trade grew 20 percent year on year, said the minister, hoping that the goal of 10 billion dollars in annual trade set by both heads of state could be achieved soon.
Noting that the China-Uzbekistan cooperation covers such areas as chemical, textile, and oil and gas industries, Kudratov said that tens of thousands of jobs have been created in Uzbekistan.
Kudratov said that by combining China's innovative technologies with Uzbekistan's resources, the two countries could improve energy efficiency and manufacture products with high-added value for export to other countries.
In the eyes of Lu Shanbing, dean of the Central Asia Institute of Northwest University, China and Central Asian countries' efforts to advance the BRI highlight their commitment to promoting globalization.
The BRI has followed the guiding principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, which are also emphasized by China's global governance philosophy, Lu said.
Noting that the interconnectivity facilitated by the BRI has helped Central Asian countries strengthen communications with the world and better exploit their comparative advantages in the process of globalization, he said the relationship between the two sides has set a benchmark for mutually beneficial cooperation and served as a role model for Belt and Road cooperation.
Both Tajikistan and China are marking the 10th anniversary of the launch of the BRI, said Tajikistan's Minister of Economic Development and Trade Zavqizoda Zavqi.
"Thanks to the sincere friendship and wise policies of the leaders of both countries, the cooperation of our countries has improved," he said, noting that "China has become the third-largest trade partner and the largest investment partner of Tajikistan."
"This summit is very important. The Central Asia has lots of potential to further develop. So all five Central Asian countries, particularly Tajikistan, have very important development goals of matching up the potential of China and the Central Asia. We will receive win-win results in terms of development," said the minister.