Uzbekistan president to visit China amid sound devt of relations
Two sides share high-level mutual trust, compatible growth goals
Published: Jan 19, 2024 08:50 PM
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev Photo: Official website of the President of Uzbekistan

President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev Photo: Official website of the President of Uzbekistan

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev will pay a state visit to China from January 23 to 25, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced Friday. Observers believe that the visit will push forward the upgrading of bilateral relations and facilitate China's cooperation with the Central Asian region. 

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 32 years ago, China and Uzbekistan have treated each other with respect, enjoyed good neighborliness and mutual benefits, and kept solidarity in trying times, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at Friday's routine press briefing. 

The bilateral relations have achieved leapfrog growth and cooperation in various fields has born fruitful results. This provides a strong boost to the development and revitalization of the two countries and positive energy to the peace and stability of Central Asia and the world at large, Mao sad. 

At the beginning of 2024, President Mirziyoyev's state visit to China fully reflects the strength of our bilateral relations and the deep friendship between the two heads of state, Mao said. "The two sides will take this opportunity to elevate bilateral relations and add new dimensions to the China-Uzbekistan community with a shared future."

The two countries have had frequent interactions in the past decade, and in May 2017, President Mirziyoyev made his first state visit to China after taking office. He visited China in February 2022 for the Beijing Winter Olympics, and President Xi visited Uzbekistan in September that year for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand. Mirziyoyev visited China twice in 2023 for the first China-Central Asia Summit in May and the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in October. 

Such frequent visits epitomize the sound development of bilateral relations and richness of cooperation potential, analysts said. 

Zhu Yongbiao, executive director of the Research Center for the Belt and Road at Lanzhou University, told the Global Times on Friday that China and Uzbekistan share high-level mutual trust and stand close on a range of regional and international issues, citing Uzbekistan's role in the SCO mechanism, its support for China-proposed initiatives, and China's stance on topics such as countering terrorism. 

The two countries have potential for further cooperation on security topics such as anti-terrorism and the Afghanistan issue, as well as the response to climate change. 

On economic development, Zhu said Uzbekistan is looking to better integrate into regional and international markets, and promote the construction of a China-Central Asia transportation corridor, for which China plays an important role and the foundation and prospects for cooperation are sound and positive.

"The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Uzbekistan's development schemes are highly compatible."

The Angren-Pap railway line, the longest tunnel in Uzbekistan and Central Asia built by Chinese enterprises, the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan transport corridor, the four routes of the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline, which all pass through Uzbekistan, set examples for friendly cooperation between neighboring countries. 

Uzbekistan attaches great importance to arid agriculture, poverty reduction, green development and digital economy, while China can share its experience in these areas, Zhu said.   

Analysts pointed to archaeology and culture as being another area of cooperation that continues the two countries' bond from ancient times through the Silk Road.

China's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Hu Heping, led a delegation to Uzbekistan in October 2023. The two sides reached agreements on tourism cooperation, establishing cultural centers, mutual visits by art groups and restoration of cultural relics, among other fields. 

According to spokesperson Mao, during Mirziyoyev's visit, the two countries will also hold a series of supporting activities in culture, education, and local cooperation, comprehensively deepening cooperation in various fields, and better benefiting both countries and their peoples.