Chinese President Xi Jinping's signed article in a leading Uzbek newspaper has won wide praise from Uzbeks, who expect further development of bilateral relations and cooperation.[Special coverage]
Ahead of his visit to Uzbekistan, Xi on Tuesday published a signed article in Narodnoye Slove titled "A Glorious New Chapter in China-Uzbekistan Friendship."
Anvar Sharipov, a former professor at the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, said he thoroughly read the article, in which Xi spoke highly of bilateral relations and appreciated the role of Uzbekistan in Central Asia and the international arena.
"The publication of the signed article shows the strategic value of bilateral relations, the long-time friendship which has passed from generation to generation, as well as the similar traditional culture and spirit (of our two countries)," Sharipov told Xinhua.
"We believe that bilateral ties would keep developing and cooperation in different fields would flourish under the leadership of Uzbek President Islam Karimov and Chinese President Xi," Sharipov said.
Vice President of the Uzbekistan-China Friendship Association Bekmurodov Ismatulla noted that the signed article presented a blueprint for the future of bilateral relationship.
Joint efforts to build up the Silk Road Economic Belt are giving strong impetus to and will become the cornerstone of bilateral cooperation, Ismatulla said.
In recent years, under the Belt and Road initiative proposed by China, dozens of cooperation projects have been implemented in industry, air and railway transport and other fields in Uzbekistan, Chinese and Uzbek officials say.
The Pengsheng Industrial Park, located southwest of the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, currently houses nine companies manufacturing tiles, leather, shoes, cellphones and other products, contributing to local economic development and improving local people's livelihood.
The completion of Qamchiq, the longest railway tunnel in Central Asia, is expected to significantly improve the transport network of Uzbekistan and inject fresh impetus into local economic development.
Uzbek merchant Botir Zhuraev told Xinhua that he hoped the Silk Road Economic Belt would open new prospects for business, trade and entrepreneurship in all areas.
President Xi attaches great importance to the two countries' interaction on international affairs and security issues, as major economic projects cannot be fulfilled without a stable and safe environment, Zhuraev noted.
"Peace and stability in the world is the key to business success," Zhuraev said, echoing President Xi's idea.
In 2015, two-way trade reached 3.5 billion U.S. dollars, up by more than 70-fold compared with the early days of diplomatic relations between the two countries, according to Chinese official figures.
Other Uzbeks pay more attention to the fast-growing cultural links with China. Tilovo Ozod, a Chinese-language postgraduate student, expressed his keen interest in the Chinese culture.
He cannot agree more with President Xi's appraisal of the traditional and cultural links of the two countries and the deep mutual understanding between the two peoples, Ozod told Xinhua.
College teacher Gulnora Azimova also noted that more and more young Uzbeks want to learn Chinese and study Chinese culture.
In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in student exchange, language training, joint archaeological projects, translation of literary works and other cultural programs between China and Uzbekistan.
China has established a Uzbekistan Research Center in Shanghai for studying Uzbek history and social customs. The Uzbek language is also being taught and learnt in Chinese colleges.