ISMI: Economy should become the framework and driving force for mutually beneficial cooperation between Central Asia and China
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On 21-22 September 2023, the third forum of think tanks of China and Central Asian countries was held in Xi’an (PRC) under the motto “Combining efforts to create a closer community of common destiny for China and Central Asian countries ", organized by the Institute of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (IRVECA) at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (KAON).
The Forum was attended by the Vice-President of KAON, the Secretary General of the SCO, as well as over 100 high-ranking diplomats, leaders and experts from leading think tanks of the PRC and Central Asian countries.
The Uzbek side was represented by the leadership and experts of the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies (ISMI) under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the International Institute of Central Asia.
During the event, a detailed exchange of views took place on the results of the first summit of the heads of state of China and Central Asian countries held in the city of Xi’an in May of this year. New areas of cooperation in the field of security, trade, economic and humanitarian ties were outlined. Issues of the civilizational dimension of modernization and further prospects for the development of the Belt and Road initiative are touched upon.
Delivering a welcoming speech, First Deputy Director of the ISMI under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Akramjon Nematov noted that the rich program of the Forum, a wide range of participants and a friendly atmosphere create favorable conditions for a confidential dialogue and constructive exchange of views.
According to the expert, today this is especially in demand when the world is faced with a complex crisis, accompanied by numerous threats and challenges to security and stability, which are becoming progressive and unpredictable.
“This has and, apparently, will continue to have a negative impact on the stability and sustainable development of our region for a long time,” said Akramjon Nematov.
Under these conditions, the need was emphasized to make the most effective use of the potential of the “PRC-CA” format and to take advantage of all the advantages of multifaceted cooperation, guided by the principles of mutual trust, dialogue, respect and consideration of each other’s interests.
“Today, our countries are already demonstrating a high level of consolidation and mutual readiness to increase mutually beneficial cooperation,” Akramjon Nematov emphasized.
This was confirmed by the first summit of leaders of the PRC and Central Asian countries that took place in May. The Xi’an Declaration adopted as a result, as well as the signed documents and planned projects, determined the future contours of the development of multilateral interaction.
According to the ISMI representative, all conditions have been created today for a progressive joint movement forward. Thus, in recent years, China and the countries of Central Asia have managed to make a powerful breakthrough in multilateral interaction, raising relations to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership.
“In other words, mutually beneficial cooperation with China makes an invaluable contribution to the progressive development of Central Asia, contributing to economic growth, increased interconnectedness and, in general, increased stability and stress resistance of the region,” summarized Akramjon Nematov.
In his report, the ISMI representative also mentioned the high dynamics of regional cooperation demonstrated by the Central Asian countries, as well as the fundamental changes that have occurred in the region in recent years.
This, as the expert emphasized, is evidenced by the results of the last summit in Dushanbe, which completed the cycle of consultative meetings of the heads of state of Central Asia, launched in 2018. The event confirmed that the process of regional rapprochement has become irreversible and sustainable.
This, in turn, opens up broad opportunities and prospects for joint efforts with China, which has established itself as a reliable and responsible partner of the Central Asian countries in the international arena.
For these purposes, the need was noted to continue to maintain a trusting political dialogue, strengthen mutual trust between countries, and make it multifaceted and multi-level.
“It is important for us, first of all, to achieve a strategic breakthrough in the economic direction, to define cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, technology and innovation as the imperative of our cooperation. The economy should become the framework and driving force of our mutually beneficial cooperation,” the expert explained.
In this context, the ISMI representative, as an example, outlined the main directions and key objectives of the “Uzbekistan-2030” Strategy, where the main goal is to become one of the countries with an upper-middle income level through sustainable economic development. In addition, ambitious plans have been outlined to double GDP and per capita income.
As a result, it is expected to increase the share of industrial technological products from 25 to 32 percent, increasing labor productivity and added value in the processing industry by 2 times.
According to Akramjon Nematov, “the prosperity of Uzbekistan is inextricably linked with the sustainable development of Central Asia. In this regard, we advocate the transformation of our region
into one of the important centers of economic growth and investment activity, an integral link in interregional interconnectedness and the global value chain.” “This will be the key to the stability of our region, both in the face of internal and external challenges, providing a guarantee of prosperity for the vast region of Eurasia,” the expert concluded.
Also on the sidelines of the forum, Akramjon Nematov held a number of bilateral meetings with the heads of leading research institutes of the PRC. Among them: Director of IRVECA Sun Zhuangzhi, Director of the Institute for Social Development of Europe and Asia of the Center for Development Research under the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Yongquan, Director of the Institute of Central Asia of the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences Shi Lan, Vice President of the Silk Road Institute of Northwestern University Cai Yanbin, etc. .
The parties discussed issues of bilateral cooperation, holding joint events and intensifying academic exchanges. Mutual interest was expressed in further maintaining an expert dialogue aimed at finding new promising areas of cooperation of mutual interest.