China is ready to coordinate development strategies with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and promote the modernization of all, Xi Jinping said in a speech at a China-Central Asia summit in northwest China.
“This summit gave a new impetus to the development and revitalization of the six countries and injected a strong positive energy into regional peace and stability,” Xi Jinping said at a press conference with his Central Asian counterparts, reports Reuters.
“We will jointly promote a new paradigm of deeply complementary and high-level cooperation, win-win for both sides.”
With its commitment, China has placed itself at the forefront of the race for political influence in the resource-rich region, as Russia is distracted by its war in Ukraine and the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan diminishes the US presence in the region.
The five former Soviet republics, with a network of trade corridors, offer China alternative routes to transport fuel, food and other commodities.
Xi Jinping said China and Central Asian countries should deepen trust and provide “clear and strong support” for core interests such as sovereignty, independence, national dignity and long-term development.
He did not mention Ukraine, which, like the nations of Central Asia, was part of the Soviet Union.
Trade and investment
China will update bilateral investment agreements and increase the volume of cross-border goods with the region, Xi Jinping also said.
Beijing will encourage Chinese-funded enterprises in Central Asia to create more jobs, build warehouses and launch a special train service aimed at promoting tourism, he added.
“To strengthen our cooperation and the development of Central Asia, China will provide a total of 26 billion yuan ($3.8 billion) of financial support and grants to Central Asian countries,” Xi Jinping said.
Two-way trade between China and Central Asia hit a record $70 billion last year, with Kazakhstan leading the way with $31 billion, as China seeks deeper ties in its quest for greater food and energy security.
He also called on China and Central Asia to step up trade in oil and gas, develop energy cooperation within industrial chains, and boost cooperation in new energy and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
In the longer term, China supports the construction of an international transport corridor across the Caspian Sea and would strengthen the construction of transport hubs for China-Europe freight trains, the Chinese president said.
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