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Hu: Closer links with Central Asia sought
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-16 22:13

China will work closely with all Central Asian nations to safeguard regional stability, as well as to expand economic and cultural exchanges, President Hu Jintao said Wednesday.

President Hu Jintao addresses the Uzbek parliament Jun 16, 2004, outlining the strategy to develop relations in central Asian nations. [Xinhua]
"Being burgeoning forces in Eurasia, Central Asian countries are attracting the attention of the world for their development and unique geopolitical function," Hu said during a speech to the Uzbek parliament.

Although they won independence more than 10 years ago, the Central Asian countries are still facing the arduous tasks of maintaining stability and safety, and speeding up economic development.

Hu said relations between China and the Central Asian countries, which include Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, have developed smoothly.

Moreover, China has co-operated closely with the nations through bilateral and multi-lateral channels to effectively fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism, which severely threat the safety of the region.

Hu said China and the region have kept attracting each other's enterprises, enlarging investment and rapport in the areas of energy resources and transportation construction.

Statistics show that the trading turnover between China and Central Asian countries was more than US$4 billion last year, which was eight times higher than the 1992 figure.

At the same time, China's investment in the region has exceeded US$1 billion.

To push forward the development of the relationship between China and Central Asia, Hu put forward four suggestions:

-- Deepening friendly neighbourhood and increasing mutual political trust through intensifying high-level exchanges and perfecting regional co-operation mechanisms;

--Enhancing security co-ordination and maintaining regional stability, and earnestly carrying out the convention of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization and other bilateral agreements;

--Sticking to the principle of mutual benefit and trust to accelerate pragmatic co-operation though the enlargement of investment; and

--Scaling-up cultural exchanges and consolidating traditional friendships by encouraging contacts between cultural, media, academic, tourism and social groups.

Erkin Khalilov, chairman of the Uzbek parliament, said Uzbekistan would co-operate closely with China to carry out economic, cultural and technological agreements, as well to ensure stability and safety within the region.

Hu arrived here Monday night for a two-day state visit. During his stay in Tashkent, the Chinese president will attend a summit meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization scheduled for today.

Uzbekistan is the last leg of Hu's four-nation trip, which had taken him to Poland, Romania and Hungary.

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