Uzbekistan becomes a 'strategic partner'

Updated: 2012-06-07 10:31

By Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

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Uzbekistan becomes a 'strategic partner'

China and Uzbekistan elevated ties to a strategic partnership on Wednesday with five agreements signed to boost cooperation.

China also strengthened relationships with the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on Wednesday, pushing forward cooperation in security, energy and infrastructure construction.

President Hu Jintao held talks with his counterparts from the three nations, who attended the 12th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Beijing Summit on Wednesday and Thursday.

Analysts said the peace and prosperity of Central Asia, the core region of multilateral cooperation under the framework of the SCO, is an important task for the organization that groups China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Among the documents signed between China and Uzbekistan are an economic and technology cooperation agreement and a memorandum on establishing a joint industrial park.

The two sides also signed cooperation deals regarding plant protection and quarantine as well as animal hygiene.

With a "strategic partnership", the two countries will "have a clearer plan for long-term cooperation, build more consensus and share the same stance on regional and international issues", said Sun Zhuangzhi, a researcher on Central Asian and SCO studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Hu urged the two sides to expand economic and trade cooperation, fully implement a long-term trade agreement signed in late 2009 as well as a currency swap agreement signed in 2011, and to deepen energy cooperation.

He also called for quick implementation of a plan on non-resource and high-tech cooperation, and a step-up in joint construction of special economic zones as well as transportation infrastructure.

On security cooperation, Hu suggested the two sides fight together against the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as drug trafficking and transnational organized crime.

The establishment of a bilateral strategic partnership has great significance for the long-term and stable development of bilateral ties as well as the lasting peace and development of Central Asia, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said.

Karimov said Uzbekistan will continue supporting China on major issues, including law enforcement, security and the strike on the "three evil forces".

Uzbekistan hopes to enhance economic, energy and investment cooperation with China, fully implement the construction of oil and gas pipeline projects, expand cooperation in mining and aviation, and advance the building of transportation networks, he said.

Karimov said his country attaches great importance to China's role in international and regional issues, and is ready to enhance coordination with China in the multilateral arena and within the framework of the SCO.

In talks with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, Hu urged the two sides to deepen energy cooperation and start cooperation in new areas including nuclear, solar and wind power as soon as possible.

The two presidents also agreed on deepening cooperation in transportation infrastructure and border areas.

Turkmenistan, which is not a member of the SCO because of its policy of neutrality, attended the summit as an honored guest of China.

Hu suggested the two countries deepen natural gas cooperation and expand cooperation in areas including transportation, communication, the chemical industry and security.

Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov said his country is ready to enlarge bilateral oil and gas cooperation and establish a long-term and stable supply and demand partnership with China.

China-Turkmenistan natural gas cooperation is proof of the friendly cooperation between China and Central Asian nations, Sun said.