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Uzbekistan’s President Mirziyoyev in China for a State Visit

In China for a three-day state visit, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev met yesterday with Premier Li Qiang and today with President Xi Jinping, for productive discussions on enhancing their bilateral relationship and coordinating closely in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Miriziyoyev visited China twice last year and the current trip is his first overseas trip in 2024.

Global Times reported that he had a very upbeat meeting with President Xi today in which they agreed to upgrade their relationship to an “all weather” comprehensive strategic partnership and discussed “traditional and new” ways in which they can enhance their relationship, key among which is security cooperation given the current turbulent and complex international and regional situation. They also focused on engaging in modernization and poverty reduction efforts through “high-quality joint construction” of the BRI. Following their meeting, the two signed a joint statement and witnessed the signing of documents related to Belt and Road cooperation, economic and technological cooperation, connectivity, science and culture, Xinhua reported today.

During his visit, Mirziyoyev also met with the chairman of China’s National Petroleum Corporation, the chairman of the Export-Import Bank of China, and with the president of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, with whom he signed a three-year project investment plan, that will cover sectors including transportation, energy, water resources and the environment.

In an article he wrote in preparation for his trip, published in China Daily, and other Chinese media, Mirziyoyev emphasized that bilateral relations “are experiencing the best period in their history, demonstrating a solid high dynamic. I believe that this is indeed logical. Great ancient civilizations always look alike, understand each other and are close in spirit…. Our historical ties go back to the origins of the Great Silk Road, through which much of the world’s trade used to pass.” He described his country’s involvement in the BRI as a “global consolidating force” and an important link in “global connectivity.”

BRI projects will be key in unlocking Central Asia’s great untapped potential, he predicted, and it will be important to establish “reliable and cost-effective international corridors with market access to South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe and all of the Eurasian continent. Global Times quotes Zhao Huirong, an expert on Eastern European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who explained that Uzbekistan hopes that improved connectivity under the auspices of the BRI, will help it become a transportation hub in Central Asia. Analysts cited by Global Times are hopeful that the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan rail transport corridor project will make progress in 2024, enhancing regional cooperation.