Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang. (Photo by Feng Yongbin/chinadaily.com.cn)
China will host the fourth China-Central Asia Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Thursday in Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, to prepare for a summit of the six countries' heads of state.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang will chair the meeting and will be joined by the foreign ministers or deputy foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a daily news conference on Tuesday.
The countries agreed in their previous foreign ministers' meeting in Kazakhstan in June to establish the heads of state meeting mechanism of the six countries and to hold a summit every two years.
China will hold the first summit under the mechanism, according to the consensus reached by all parties, Mao said, adding that the major task for the upcoming foreign ministers' meeting in Xi'an is to "make full political preparations" for the summit.
China is giving high attention to the summit. Qin, the foreign minister, said last month that the summit is one of the major diplomatic events that China will host this year, and the country will work to ensure its success.
During the Xi'an meeting, the six countries will also exchange views on China-Central Asia cooperation and on international and regional issues of shared interest, the Foreign Ministry spokes-woman said.
In January last year, leaders of China and the five Central Asian countries held a virtual summit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the countries.
In a joint statement released after the virtual summit, the leaders vowed to continue to promote China-Central Asia cooperation in a number of fields, including the maintaining of regular high-level exchanges to strengthen the top planning and coordination of ties.
In another development, Mao announced at the news conference the latest steps that China has taken to further facilitate cross-border travel.
Inbound travelers may choose to take antigen tests within 48 hours prior to boarding flights rather than nucleic acid tests starting on Saturday, Mao said.
In addition, airlines will no longer check travelers' pre-departure test results, she added.