Xi’an summit to usher in new chapter of China-Central Asia friendship

By Zhang Xiao

The China-Central Asia Summit will be held in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province on May 18 and 19, which is expected to bring new historical opportunities to the development of relations between China and Central Asian countries.

In 1992, China established diplomatic relations with Central Asian countries, opening the window of exchange and cooperation.

Over the past 31 years, the two sides have witnessed leapfrog development in their relations and successively formed strategic partnerships, which has not only promoted their own prosperity, but also safeguarded regional peace and stability. They have set an example for a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation.

In 2022, trade volume between China and Central Asian countries hit a historic high of $70.2 billion, an over 100-fold increase since diplomatic ties were established

From January to April, this year, China’s trade with five Central Asian countries increased 37.4 percent year-on-year. China’s direct investment stock in the five countries was nearly $15 billion as of the end of 2022.

In January last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired a summit via video link to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and five Central Asian countries.

The summit adopted and released the Joint Statement Between Leaders of China and the Five Central Asian Countries on the 30th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Ties, which stressed that the relations between China and Central Asian countries have entered a new era.

According to the statement, the six countries are determined to jointly build a strategic partnership featuring rich substance, fruitful results and enduring friendship and build a China-Central Asia community with a shared future.

During the third China + Central Asia (C+C5) foreign ministers’ meeting in June 2022, all parties agreed to establish a mechanism for the heads of state to hold summits in the “C+C5” format. Consensus was also reached that the inaugural China-Central Asia Summit would be held by China.

China and Central Asian countries will take the summit as an opportunity to bring their relations to a new level. The six countries will give full play to the strategic guidance of head-of-state diplomacy, gradually establish cooperation platforms in key areas, and improve the mechanisms for their cooperation.

Following the principles of mutual respect, good-neighborly friendship, solidarity and win-win cooperation, they will resolutely safeguard their sovereignty, security and development interests, offer each other firm support on issues concerning each other’s core interests, firmly oppose external interference in domestic affairs and build a solid foundation for political mutual trust.

They will uphold a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, follow a coordinated approach to safeguarding traditional and non-traditional security, and work together to combat separatists, religious extremists and terrorists, as well as drug-trafficking and organized cross-border crimes, so as to build a strong fortress for regional peace and stability.

The six countries will uphold the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, pursue high-standard cooperation to improve people’s livelihood and promote sustainable development in Belt and Road construction, and jointly write a splendid chapter of the BRI.

They will strengthen exchanges between parliaments, political parties and non-governmental organizations and exchanges between women, young people and people with disabilities to build stronger momentum for cooperation.

They will work together to implement the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, follow true multilateralism, oppose protectionism, hold dear humanity’s shared values, safeguard international equity and justice, and enrich the connotation of international collaboration.

China and Kazakhstan, connected by mountains and rivers, are good neighbors, good friends and good partners with a shared future. China-Kazakhstan relations have progressed by leaps and bounds and reached the high level of permanent comprehensive strategic partnership, making important contributions to promoting regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

The two countries will strengthen strategic communication and policy coordination, actively join the construction of China-Central Asia mechanisms, and promote the healthy and stable development of cooperation in various fields, to build an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future.

Xi’an is one of the cities where the Chinese civilization is rooted. It is also the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. The China-Central Asia Summit to be held in the city will surely usher in a more splendid chapter of friendly cooperation between China and Central Asia.

(Zhang Xiao is the Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan.)