Uzbekistan will continue its scientific cooperation with China for the benefit of both peoples, an Uzbekistani scientist said on Monday.
Shavkat Salikhov made the comment on Monday after receiving the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award－China's highest scientific honor to foreign scientists who have contributed greatly to national scientific advancement.
Salikhov, the director of the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, is the first scientist from Central Asia to receive the honor. Last year, he was the first Uzbekistani scientist to be elected as a foreign academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"It is a great honor for me and for the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences," he said, adding that Uzbekistan has "a strong and long-standing collaboration with CAS institutes, especially with the Xinjiang Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry".
In the past 15 years, the two countries have jointly produced more than 60 science papers, conducted a dozen large science projects and built several research centers in the fields of genetics, botany, biotechnology and astronomy, he said.
"By working together, we will overcome problems that are urgent not only to our two countries, but for the whole Central Asian region," he said. "I would consider Sino-Uzbekistani collaboration as a shining example of science diplomacy."
In 2013, China and Uzbekistan jointly began building the Central Asian Center for Research and Development of Medicines in Tashkent, Uzbekistan's capital. It is one of the first foreign centers established by the CAS on countries along the Belt and Road Initiative routes. The center is near completion, said Salikhov, who is the chief designer and coordinator for the new center.
The center's main objectives include diagnostics, treatment and pharmaceutical productions. "A unique feature of the center will be the integration of the latest scientific achievements of both traditional Eastern and modern Western medicine," he said.
"The center adopts high international standards, and we are planning to jointly produce original drugs in the future," he added. Such drugs will include antibacterial and antiviral drugs, as well as vaccines to combat seasonal flus, which are a common health issue for both countries, he said.
China and Uzbekistan are building mechanisms for pharmaceutical registration procedures, so that new medicines from joint research can enter both markets and begin helping the citizens of both countries, he said.
"This process also lays the foundation for deeper cooperation," he added. Biotechnology and natural resources are also promising areas for future cooperation, he said.