President calls on countries to uphold multilateralism, expand cooperation
President Xi Jinping called on Wednesday for high-quality cooperation between China and Uzbekistan in jointly building the Belt and Road to further enhance bilateral ties.
Xi made the remark during a meeting with visiting Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Nigmatovich Aripov at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
The two countries should strengthen synergy between their development strategies and increase interconnectivity by better utilizing existing cross-border highways and railways, Xi said.
Developing the China-Uzbekistan comprehensive strategic partnership is in line with the fundamental interests of the two countries as well as their peoples, Xi said.
He stressed the need for both countries to expand collaboration in fields of trade, investment, energy and technology, and to intensify cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Saying China is willing to increase imports of agricultural products from Uzbekistan, Xi welcomes the Central Asian nation to attend the second China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November.
China is Uzbekistan's biggest trading partner and its top export destination. Bilateral trade reached more than $6.4 billion last year with a year-on-year increase of 35.2 percent, said the Ministry of Commerce.
Xi said both countries should also jointly combat the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism as well as organized cross-border criminal activities such as drug trafficking to beef up support for regional security and development.
He told Aripov that China will never seek hegemony even when it becomes stronger. Xi added that the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation aims at seeking happiness for its people, and will also make greater contributions to world peace and the progress of humanity.
Saying that China stands ready to intensify coordination and cooperation with Uzbekistan in international affairs, Xi called on the two countries to jointly uphold multilateralism, safeguard their common interests and promote democratization of international relations.
Xi also highlighted the need for the two countries to work with other Shanghai Cooperation Organization members to boost regional cooperation in various fields.
Aripov called China its most reliable neighbor and partner, and said his country will work with China to resolutely implement the consensus reached by Xi and his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Uzbekistan firmly supports China in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and reunification, said Aripov, adding that his country stands ready to work with China to fight against the "three forces".