Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that China is willing to expand cooperation with Uzbekistan on wide-ranging issues while meeting with Uzbek President Islam Karimov.
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov in Tashkent June 28, 2009. [Li Xueren/Xinhua]
"Uzbekistan, as a country with important influence in central Asia, plays a major role in regional affairs, and developing a friendly partnership with Uzbekistan is one of the priorities of China's foreign policy," said Li.
"China is willing to work together with Uzbekistan to constantly solidify the friendship and political trust between the two countries, make efforts to expand pragmatic bilateral cooperation in all fields, and increase exchanges in culture, education, health and sports," he added.
China also aims to enhance coordination and cooperation with Uzbekistan within multi-lateral frameworks like the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said the Chinese official.
Li said China is thankful to Uzbekistan for its support on issues that were deemed critical to China's core interests and on other major issues and promised China will continue to support Uzbekistan for its efforts to defend national independence and sovereignty, develop its economy and safeguard its national security and stability.
On the global financial crisis, Li pointed out China has taken appropriate fiscal and monetary measures to spur economic growth and the Chinese economy is stabilizing.
He noted bilateral trade between China and Uzbekistan is still growing rapidly despite the financial crisis and suggested the two sides increase exchanges on government policies to help each other deal with the crisis.
Top leaders and senior officials of China and Uzbekistan have met on a regular basis in recent years.
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (2nd R Front), accompanied by Uzbekistan's Deputy Prime Minister Ergash Shaismatov (1st R Front), visits Chkalov plane manufactory in Tashkent June 28, 2009. [Li Xueren/Xinhua]
Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Karimov at the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit held in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg earlier this month. The two also met during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao paid his first official visit to Uzbekistan in November 2007 after attending a meeting of the prime ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries held in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.
Karimov said he treated Li's visit to his country is another example of the close relations between the leaders of the two countries.
He said Uzbekistan values its relationship with China, admires China for its development.
He also expressed deep thanks to China for its longtime support and help.
The Uzbek president then outlined new areas for further cooperation between Uzbekistan and China.
"Uzbekistan and China have made major progress on bilateral economic and trade cooperation, but there is much potential for further developing and deepening that cooperation," he said.
He suggested the two countries explore new ways of cooperation, map out a medium and long-term framework for cooperation and enhance bilateral economic and trade cooperation in an all-around way through effective mechanism and joint projects of strategic importance.
He said Uzbekistan will continue to support China's position on issues related to Taiwan, Tibet and human rights and will work together with China to promote regional peace and stability.
Li arrived in Tashkent on Saturday for a three-day official visit to Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is the last leg of his three-nation foreign tour which has already taken him to Turkmenistan and Finland.
(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2009)