The 9th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum: Build a Closer China-Central Asia Community with a Shared Future
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and five Central Asian countries. At the 9th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum held from July 12 to 13, participants had in-depth discussions on cooperation between China and Central Asia in various fields and reached a series of important consensus. The "Ninth China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum (Dalian) Initiative" was released, proposing to work together to build an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future, advance Belt and Road cooperation, and promote closer people-to-people ties between China and Central Asian countries.
In his opening speech, Mamytov, Kyrgyz Speaker of Parliament said that developing bilateral relations has always been an important direction of Kyrgyzstan's diplomacy and there are no differences or problems between the two countries that hinder the development of bilateral relations. He mentioned that after the outbreak of the pandemic, when Kyrgyzstan was in the most difficult time, China extended a valuable helping hand to support Kyrgyzstan's fight against the pandemic.
This year, the construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, which has been in the making for years, has finally made substantial progress. Mamytov said that among the cooperation projects between the two countries, the Kyrgyzstan side especially hopes to push forward the construction and implementation of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project as soon as possible, which will build a bridge of true friendship between the related countries.
According to statistics, as of June this year, China's first transnational gas pipeline from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the west, the Central Asia Gas pipeline, has transported more than 400 billion m3 of natural gas to China. Recently, CNPC's new gas field in the western part of the Amu Darya Bhagdray contract Area B of Turkmenistan has also started production.
Mämmedowa, Turkmenistan National Assembly Chairperson said that Turkmenistan is pushing forward the synergy between Turkmenistan's Silk Road Revival Initiative and China's Belt and Road Initiative. Cooperation in agriculture, culture, digital economy and other fields are priorities for building a Turkmenistan-Chinese community with a shared future.
Promoting connectivity on the Eurasian continent is a crucial topic for China's cooperation with Central Asia. "Kazakhstan hopes to further diversify the transit routes and will open new rail routes through Kazakhstan with a planned investment of 20 billion USD by 2025." Nuryshev, Kazakh Ambassador to China said. The transport corridor through Kazakh territory provides fast and reliable access for Chinese exports to markets in the Middle East, Europe, CIS and Central Asia. Kazakhstan looks forward to further leveraging its geographical advantages and potential in transportation and transit, and participating extensively in green, digital and health cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Saidzoda Zohir, Ambassador of Tajikistan to China, summarized the outcomes of cooperation between Tajikistan and China in various fields, with special emphasis on cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Thousands of Tajik students are studying in 120 universities in China, he said. Not only has China set up a Confucius Institute in Tajikistan, but the first Luban Workshop in Central Asia will be inaugurated in Tajikistan this year.
Zhang Ming, the SCO Secretary-General recently completed his first overseas visit, which included four founding members of SCO in Central Asia. He noted that the Central Asian member states of the SCO generally believe that it is of great significance to further strengthen practical cooperation in the field of economy and trade against the adverse impact of the current unilateral sanctions. The countries also attach importance to promoting cultural and people-to-people cooperation in culture, tourism, sports and people-to-people diplomacy. It is of great significance to further expand cooperation between China and Central Asian countries under the SCO framework.
China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum is a state-level cooperation platform for institutional exchanges between China and Central Asian countries. It has been held eight times since 2012. The 9th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum is organized by the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Liaoning Provincial People's Government. Sub-forums were held on women's development, agricultural cooperation, education cooperation and digital economy cooperation. The "Ninth China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum (Dalian) Initiative" was also released.
Cui Li, Vice-Chairperson of the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, briefed the results of this forum and said that, thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum has become an important platform for China and Central Asian countries to enhance friendship and mutual trust and deepen practical cooperation since its inception nine years ago. The Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will continue to work with other parties to make good use of its political advantages guided by high-level strategies, tap into the potential of cooperation between China and Central Asian countries, promote people-to-people exchanges and bonds, and work with the people of Central Asian countries to build a better future.