By He Yin, People’s Daily
Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 19 chaired the first China-Central Asia Summit and delivered a keynote speech in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province. The summit was also attended by heads of state of the five Central Asian countries, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The six heads of state reviewed the history of friendly exchanges between China and Central Asia, took stock of their cooperation outcomes, summed up successful experiences, and built new consensus, charting a blueprint for the future development of China-Central Asia relations.
Facing profound changes unseen in a century, and bearing in mind the fundamental interests and bright future of the peoples, the six countries are determined to foster an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future, which will bring more benefits to the peoples and make greater contributions to regional peace and development.
The China-Central Asia relationship is steeped in history, driven by broad actual needs, and built on solid popular support. The relations are brimming with vigor and vitality in the new era.
For millennia, the people of China and Central Asia have complemented and learned from each other, creating the glories of the ancient Silk Road. Since the two sides established diplomatic relations, they have always respected each other, enjoyed good neighborliness, and worked in partnership and solidarity for mutual benefit through thick and thin. Their state-to-state relations have grown from ones of good-neighborliness to strategic partnerships, and then to a community with a shared future, achieving historic leapfrog development.
In today’s world, transformations unseen in a century are accelerating; the international and regional situation is changing in profound and complex ways; both opportunities and challenges are unprecedented. At this critical historical juncture, the China-Central Asia Summit follows the trend of win-win cooperation, which is in line with the fundamental interests of the peoples and is conducive to the development and revitalization of the six countries.
In his keynote speech, Xi proposed four points on what Central Asia the world needs, four principles in building a China-Central Asia community with a shared future and eight points for good planning, development and progress of China-Central Asia cooperation.
It marked the first comprehensive and systematic exposition on China’s foreign policy toward Central Asia by China’s top leader in the new era. It has won high recognition and received warm responses from the heads of state of the five Central Asian countries, and offered fundamental guidance for building an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future.
Building an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future is the most important political outcome of the summit, which demonstrates to the world the determination of China and Central Asia to renew their millennia-old friendship and open up new vistas for the future.
Xi said in his keynote speech that the world needs a stable, prosperous, harmonious and interconnected Central Asia. He stressed the sovereignty, security, independence and territorial integrity of Central Asian countries must be upheld, their people’s choice of development paths must be respected, and their efforts for peace, harmony and tranquility must be supported.
His remarks strongly resonated with the leaders of Central Asian countries. During the summit, they voiced firm support for each other to choose a development path compatible with their national conditions, firmly uphold their core interests including sovereignty, independence, security and territorial integrity, and oppose interference in others’ internal affairs.
Central Asian countries fully recognize the significance of the Chinese path to modernization for the world’s development, and reiterate their firm commitment to the one-China principle. As forces for peace and justice, China and Central Asian countries, with mutual understanding and joint efforts, will surely inject more positive energy and stability into this complicated and volatile world.
During the summit, China and five Central Asian countries signed seven bilateral and multilateral documents as well as over 100 cooperation agreements in various fields. The achievements and impacts of the summit were unprecedented.
The China + Central Asia (C+C5) cooperation mechanism is a result of China and Central Asian countries moving in the same direction. It conforms to the development of the region, the trend of the times and the aspiration of the peoples, enjoying strong endogenous impetus and broad development prospects.
The summit established a comprehensive framework for the mechanism. Taking the opportunity of this summit, the six countries have officially inaugurated the China-Central Asia Summit Mechanism, with China and Central Asian countries taking turns to host the biennial summit.
Head-of-state diplomacy will keep offering strategic guidance on enhancing top-level planning and coordination for China-Central Asia relations.
The first China-Central Asia Summit was a grand meeting that blended history and the future. Xi’an, as the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, has once again become a starting point in the new era witnessing the joint efforts of China and Central Asian countries to create a brighter future.
The summit demonstrated unity, creativity and efficiency, creating a new platform and opening up new prospects for China-Central Asia cooperation. It marked a new milestone in the development of China-Central Asia relations.
It is believed that with joint efforts, China’s relations with Central Asian countries will forge ahead like a ship braving all winds and waves, offer new vitality to the development and revitalization of the six countries, inject strong, positive energy to peace and stability of the region, and make new contributions to building a community with a shared future for mankind.