President Xi Jinping on Friday unveiled a plan to help elevate Central Asia to the next level of its development – from building infrastructure networks to boosting trade – while shunning "external interference" at the same time.
In a keynote address at the China-Central Asia Summit in Xi'an, he said China stands ready to synergise development strategies with the five Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and make joint efforts to promote the modernisation of all six countries.
"The world needs a Central Asia that is stable, prosperous, harmonious, and well-connected," Xi said.
The president made an eight-point proposal ranging from expanding economic ties to strengthening cultural exchanges.
He said more measures will be rolled out to facilitate trade, and bilateral investment agreements will be upgraded to bring trade volume to new heights.
And to raise connectivity, China will boost cross-border freight volume, support the construction of a cross-Caspian Sea international transport corridor and accelerate the upgrade of ports, among other measures.
Xi also highlighted energy cooperation and green innovation cooperation with Central Asian countries.
He called on the two sides to accelerate building Line D of the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline.
China will provide Central Asian countries 26 billion yuan in financing support and grant to bolster cooperation and the region's development.
At the same time, the six nations should oppose external interference in the internal affairs of regional countries and attempts to instigate "colour revolutions", and maintain a zero-tolerance stance against terrorism, separatism and extremism, Xi said.
"China is ready to help Central Asian countries improve their law enforcement, security and defence capability construction," the president said.
The presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are attending the summit held in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, on Thursday and Friday.
The next China-Central Asia Summit will take place in Kazakhstan in 2025. (Xinhua/Reuters)
Last updated: 2023-05-19 HKT 13:31