Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Uzbekistan: a key strategic partner for China

By Tim Collard  

China.org.cn, June 22, 2016

On President Xi Jinping's current tour of the western-central sector of the proposed New Silk Road, he has decided not only to make bilateral visits to Serbia and Poland, but also to the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan. President Xi will, of course, be attending the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent; but his decision to precede the summit with a full-dress bilateral visit sends a signal that China attaches particular importance to relations with Uzbekistan, a staunchly supportive partner of China throughout the quarter-century of the country's existence. Since Uzbekistan's independence, relations with China have steadily grown. In order to prevent the emergence of a dangerous vacuum in the Central Asian region following the break-up of the Soviet Union, China has made every effort to engage the new countries to her immediate west. Since then, both countries have assumed a rising significance in each other's regional and international objectives. A Declaration of Strategic Partnership was signed in June 2012, and a permanent intergovernmental commission has been put in place to discuss the practical details of the cooperation program.