China has entered the best time in history in its relations with Eurasian countries and is embracing a new height of cooperation for mutual benefit. We have established good-neighborly and cooperative relations with Central Asian countries and successfully settled the historical legacy of boundary issues. Since its inception 11 years ago, the SCO, with a growing number of members, observers and dialogue partners, has carried out productive economic and security cooperation. We have established the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum with West Asian countries and strategic dialogue with the GCC. We have forged strategic and cooperative partnerships with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. China and the central and East European countries have held two sessions of the Economic and Trade Forum. Over the past ten years, China' s trade with countries in Central Asia, West Asia and South Asia has surged from 25.4 billion U.S. dollars to over 370 billion U.S. dollars, growing at an average annual rate of 30.8 percent. Chinese companies have made direct investment worth 250 billion U.S. dollars in Eurasian countries and signed project contracts worth about 470 billion U.S. dollars. West and Central Asian countries are China' s most important partners for energy cooperation. Our cooperation in this field has expanded from simple import and procurement to both upstream and downstream sectors covering design, prospecting, refining, processing, storage, transport and maintenance. Construction of the grand Eurasia passage is speeding up. The China-Kazakhstan oil and gas pipelines have started operation. The second cross-border railway between China and Kazakhstan has been successfully linked up. The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan highway will be soon launched in full. A multi-dimensional silk road consisting of roads, railways, air flights, communications and oil and gas pipelines is taking shape.
The development of Eurasian countries and their growing ties have brought not only tangible benefits to people of all countries, but also peace and stability to the world. What has happened shows that as long as we, the Eurasian countries, embrace sincere cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual accommodation, we are fully capable of taking destiny in our own hands and achieving development and rejuvenation.
As our world undergoes profound and complex historic changes, Eurasian countries face both rare opportunities of development and many severe challenges. In particular, the international financial crisis has persisted for four years and world economic recovery remains hard and tortuous. This has caused Eurasian countries difficulties in economic and social development to varying degrees. And we face the pressing and daunting task of boosting growth, getting rid of poverty and improving people's life. We should, with stronger resolve and more practical measures, expand win-win cooperation in all fields and unleash the development energy in the region in order to bring benefit to the people of all Eurasian countries.
First, we need to enhance political trust to safeguard regional peace and stability. The Eurasian continent suffered greatly from the scourge of war in history and thus values peace more than anyone else. Nothing could be achieved without a peaceful and stable environment. China believes that regional affairs should be determined by countries and people of this region and supports them in pursuing development paths suited to their national conditions. We maintain that all parties should abide by the purpose and principles of the UN Charter, and resolve disputes and conflicts through dialogue and consultations. We oppose intervention from the outside. We should increase communications and coordination and make unswerving efforts to safeguard regional peace and stability.
Second, we need to open our markets wider to promote common development. The Eurasian continent is one of the most promising regions in the world in terms of consumption and investment. As long as we open our markets to each other and draw on each other's strengths, we can develop long and stable cooperation. We should deepen cooperation in customs, quality inspection, e-commerce, transit transport, standard certification and intellectual property rights, facilitate free flow of personnel, goods, capital, technology and services within the region, and jointly resist trade protectionism. We should improve existing regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms and build closer economic and trade arrangements at a faster pace, including negotiating bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements. We should protect the legal rights of enterprises and boost the confidence of investors. We should deepen financial cooperation and provide financial guarantee for major cooperation projects. We should, in a spirit of solidarity and mutual support, provide necessary financial, technological and personnel assistance to countries with economic difficulties in the region to help raise their capability for self-development. Our cooperation projects should be more oriented toward the well-being of the people so that more people can share the fruits of the regional economic cooperation.