On the morning of May 19, President Xi Jinping chaired the China-Central Asia Summit at the Xi’an International Convention Center in Shaanxi Province. He put forth eight proposals for cooperation between China and Central Asian countries in his keynote speech.
President Xi pointed out that this Summit has created a new platform and opened up new prospects for China-Central Asia cooperation. China would take this as an opportunity to step up coordination with all parties for good planning, development and progress of China-Central Asia cooperation.
First, it is important to strengthen institutional building. Meeting mechanisms on foreign affairs, economy, trade and customs, as well as a business council have already been established. China has also proposed establishment of meeting and dialogue mechanisms on industry and investment, agriculture, transportation, emergency response, education, and political parties, which will be platforms for all-round mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries.
Second, it is important to expand economic and trade ties. China will take more trade facilitation measures, upgrade bilateral investment treaties, and open “green lanes” for streamlined customs clearance of agricultural and sideline products at all border ports between China and Central Asian countries. China will also hold a live-streaming sales event to further promote Central Asian products, and build a commodities trading center. All this is part of an effort to push two-way trade to new heights.
Third, it is important to deepen connectivity. China will strive to increase the volume of cross-border cargo transportation, enhance the traffic capacity of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan highway and the China-Tajikistan-Uzbekistan highway, and move forward consultations on the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. China will seek to modernize the existing border ports at a faster pace, and promote the opening of the air transportation market. China will also step up the development of China-Europe Railway Express assembly centers, and build a comprehensive digital service platform.
Fourth, it is important to expand energy cooperation. China would like to propose the establishment of a China-Central Asia energy development partnership. The countries should expedite the construction of Line D of the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline, expand trade in oil and gas, pursue cooperation throughout the energy industrial chains, and strengthen cooperation on new energy and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Fifth, it is important to promote green innovation. China will work with Central Asian countries to conduct cooperation in such areas as improvement and utilization of saline-alkali land and water-saving irrigation, and tackle the ecological crisis of the Aral Sea. China supports establishing high-tech firms and IT industrial parks in Central Asia. China also welcomes Central Asian countries to participate in special cooperation programs under the Belt and Road Initiative, including programs on sustainable development technologies, innovation and start-up, and spatial information science and technology.
Sixth, it is important to enhance capabilities for development. China will formulate a China-Central Asia special cooperation program for poverty reduction through science and technology, implement the “China-Central Asia technology and skills improvement scheme”, set up more Luban Workshops in Central Asian countries, and encourage Chinese companies in Central Asia to create more local jobs. To bolster cooperation and Central Asian development, China will provide Central Asian countries with a total of 26 billion RMB yuan of financing support and grant.
Seventh, it is important to strengthen dialogue between civilizations. China invites Central Asian countries to take part in the “Cultural Silk Road” program, and will set up more traditional medicine centers in Central Asia. The countries will speed up establishment of cultural centers in each other’s countries. China will continue to provide government scholarships for Central Asian countries, ensure the success of the Year of Culture and Arts for the Peoples of China and Central Asian Countries, and open special train services for cultural tourism in Central Asia.
Eighth, it is important to safeguard peace in the region. China is ready to help Central Asian countries strengthen capacity building on law enforcement, security and defense, support their independent efforts to safeguard regional security and fight terrorism, and work with them to promote cyber-security. The countries will continue to leverage the role of the coordination mechanism among Afghanistan’s neighbors, and jointly promote peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.