Wang Yi meets with Central Asian counterparts, vows to boost ties



Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his counterparts from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, respectively, on the sidelines of the third China+Central Asia (C+C5) foreign ministers' meeting in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, where Wang vowed that China would boost ties with Central Asian countries.

Energy is an important part of China's strategic cooperation with Turkmenistan, Wang told Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov. No matter how the international situation changes, China's intention to expand energy cooperation between the two sides remains the same, the Chinese diplomat said.

Calling the two countries "close strategic partners," Meredov said the frequent high-level exchanges between Turkmenistan and China have reflected the high level bilateral relationship. He called for the strengthening of practical cooperation with China on various fronts and opening up a better future for bilateral relations.

The two diplomats agreed on speeding up the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, and building an efficient platform for interconnection. They also pledged to deepen cooperation in non-resource related fields so as to help Turkmenistan achieve sustainable and diversified development.

China, Uzbekistan look to facilitate interconnection

Meanwhile, Wang and Uzbekistan's acting Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov agreed that their countries would facilitate interconnection and the combined transportation of road and rail.

According to Wang, cooperation between the two countries is progressing smoothly. Specifically, bilateral trade volume has achieved substantial growth in the first quarter of this year. China welcomes more Uzbekistan products going into the Chinese market and is encouraging more Chinese companies to set foot in the Central Asian country, Wang noted.

He also stressed that the two sides should strengthen traditional energy cooperation, and jointly ensure the safe and stable operation of the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline, while also expanding new energy cooperation in areas including civil nuclear, solar and wind.

For his part, Norov first hailed the relationship with China, which he said has reached an unprecedented high level thanks to the profound friendship and guidance between the two heads of state.

Uzbekistan cherishes the friendship with China, and will firmly adhere to the one-China principle, he said. He also called for strengthening the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and promoting mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation in fields like trade investment, energy production capacity and green agriculture.

The acting Uzbek foreign minister said he appreciated China's "constructive" role in regional cooperation, adding that the development and revitalization of Central Asia is closely related to China.

China, Kyrgyzstan to further develop bilateral ties

Wang also hailed China's friendship with Kyrgyzstan as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the countries. During a conversation with Foreign Minister Jeenbek Kulubaev, Wang said China would take the anniversary as an opportunity to further develop its ties with Kyrgyzstan.

China and Kyrgyzstan are friendly neighbors "that cannot be moved," Wang said. Geographically linked by mountains and rivers, the two countries share weal and woe in security and complement each other in economics, he added.

China has always been Kyrgyzstan's most reliable long-term strategic partner, Wang noted.

Maintaining friendly ties between Kyrgyzstan and China has been a priority of Kyrgyzstan's foreign policy, Kulubaev said.

Kyrgyzstan opposes "Taiwan independence," and firmly supports China's legitimate position on Xinjiang-related and Hong Kong-related issues, Kulubaev said.

He added that he hopes to see more bilateral cooperation in fields like infrastructure, port transit, local-level exchanges, health and anti-epidemic.