|Green Mountains Turn to Bridges at Our Wish|
--State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Talks About President Xi Jinping's State Visits to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and Attendance at the Bishkek Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Dushanbe Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)
From June 12 to 16, 2019, President Xi Jinping paid state visits to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and attended the 19th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Bishkek and the 5th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe upon invitation. At the end of the visits, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi briefed the accompanying reporters on the visits.
Wang Yi said that June is a busy month for head-of-state diplomacy. President Xi Jinping flew to Bishkek and Dushanbe to visit neighboring countries in Central Asia and attend the SCO Summit and the CICA Summit just after wrapping up his state visit to Russia and attendance at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. This is a trip of good-neighborliness and friendship, a trip of the Belt and Road cooperation, a trip of carrying forward the Shanghai Spirit, and a trip of leading cooperation in Asia, writing a new chapter for building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
During the five days and four nights, President Xi Jinping worked tirelessly to attend more than 30 bilateral and multilateral events, which consolidated friendship and mutual trust, enhanced understanding and consensus, and harvested fruitful results.
Green mountains turn to bridges at our wish. The towering Tianshan Mountains and the Pamirs witnessed steadfastness and steady progress of China's diplomacy. The international public opinion believes that in the face of various risks and challenges, China adheres to multilateralism, common security, win-win cooperation, openness and inclusiveness as well as fairness and justice, winning more and more understanding and gaining stronger support. With such gestures, China has added new confidence to the stability of the world, injected new impetus into the global economy, and opened up new prospects for international cooperation.
I. Deepen traditional friendship and enhance good-neighborliness and cooperation
Wang Yi said that China and Central Asian countries including Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are linked by mountains and rivers and share weal and woe. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 27 years ago, the two sides have stood together through thick and thin and helped one another, and set a fine example of friendship and cooperation between countries different in system, culture and size. In the midst of profound changes unseen in a century in the world, China and Central Asian countries face common development and security challenges, and need to build closer cooperative relations and better safeguard their respective and common interests.
Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are China's comprehensive strategic partners, and they are China's old friends to the west of the Yangguan Pass. President Xi Jinping visited Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan respectively again after a 6-year hiatus and a 5-year hiatus, and received the highest standards of courteous reception by the two countries, which manifests the close friendship between the heads of state and the high level of relations between China and the two countries. President Sooronbay Jeenbekov of Kyrgyzstan and President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan greeted President Xi Jinping at the airport respectively. President Sooronbay Jeenbekov invited President Xi Jinping for tea at the President's Residence and held one-to-one talks. President Emomali Rahmon made special arrangements at the welcome banquet on June 15 and extended best wishes to President Xi Jinping. President Sooronbay Jeenbekov and President Emomali Rahmon also awarded President Xi Jinping the highest medals of their respective countries respectively, and thanked President Xi Jinping for his outstanding contributions to the development of Kyrgyzstan-China relations and Tajikistan-China relations.
President Xi Jinping spoke highly of bilateral relations and pointed out that China and Kyrgyzstan as well as China and Tajikistan are truly good neighbors, good partners and good friends. China-Kyrgyzstan and China-Tajikistan relations have entered the best period in history and enjoy broad prospects for development. President Xi Jinping reached consensus with President Sooronbay Jeenbekov and President Emomali Rahmon respectively, and agreed to enhance high-level political mutual trust, and firmly support each other on issues concerning respective core interests and major concerns; comprehensively strengthen law enforcement and security cooperation and work together to combat the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism; jointly advocate multilateralism and an open world economy in the world, and firmly safeguard the international system with the United Nations at the core. President Xi Jinping reiterated that the Chinese side respects Central Asian countries' choice of a development path in line with their own national conditions, and firmly supports the internal and external policies adopted by Central Asian countries to safeguard national sovereignty and security. President Xi Jinping emphasized that China is a trustworthy friend and reliable partner of Central Asian countries, no matter how the international and regional situation may change. The leaders of the countries he visited noted that they admire and congratulate on the brilliant achievements of the People's Republic of China over the past 70 years since its founding, attach great importance to deepening cooperation with China, regard the Chinese side as a long-term friend and sincere partner, and will continue to give priority to developing relations with China in their foreign policies. They said that China's development experience, especially President Xi Jinping's thought on state governance and administration, is of great significance and worth learning. On the eve of the visit to Kyrgyzstan, President Sooronbay Jeenbekov also specially attended a release ceremony for the Kyrgyz edition of the first volume of "Xi Jinping: The Governance of China" held by China and Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek and a seminar on state governance and administration.
President Xi Jinping signed respectively joint statements on further deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership with the two presidents, mapping out a new blueprint for the development of bilateral relations. The joint statement between China and Tajikistan states that on the basis of the all-weather friendship between the two countries, both countries will build a community of shared security and development, and make concerted efforts to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
II. Jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative and improve cooperation quality
Wang Yi said that China successfully held the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) not long ago, during which all parties reached broad consensus on advancing high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. Central Asia is where the Belt and Road Initiative was first put forth. President Xi Jinping's visits here again demonstrate that the Chinese side is taking practical actions to push the building of the Belt and Road Initiative for further development at a higher starting point.
Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are one of the first countries to support and participate in the Belt and Road cooperation and the cooperation between China and Kyrgyzstan as well as China and Tajikistan has achieved remarkable results. President Xi Jinping, President Sooronbay Jeenbekov and President Emomali Rahmon agreed to well implement the outcomes of the second BRF, take the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation as the main line, strengthen the in-depth alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the National Development Strategy of the Kyrgyz Republic for 2018-2040 and the national development strategy of Tajikistan for the period up to 2030, expand cooperation in infrastructure construction, energy, agriculture, industry, connectivity and other areas, promote trade and investment facilitation, and carry out closer people-to-people and cultural as well as sub-national exchanges. The Chinese side reached a number of economic and trade achievements with the Kyrgyz side and the Tajik side respectively, and signed more than 20 cooperation documents. President Xi Jinping also attended the unveiling ceremony of the models of the parliament building and government office building in Kyrgyzstan assisted by the Chinese side at the invitation of President Emomali Rahmon.
People-to-people bonds represent an important element as well as the basis of the Belt and Road cooperation. During his visits, President Xi Jinping reviewed the long history of exchanges between China and Kyrgyzstan as well as between China and Tajikistan, and talked about the friendly footprints left by historical figures such as Zhang Qian, Li Bai and Emir Ismail Samani on the ancient Silk Road, which received warm response from the countries he visited. Before the visit to Tajikistan, the Tajik cultural festival was successfully held in China and warmly acclaimed by the Chinese people. The Chinese version of President Emomali Rahmon's book, "The Tajiks in the Mirror of History", was published in China, giving the Chinese people new insights into Tajikistan. During his visit to Kyrgyzstan, the China National Opera House went to Kyrgyzstan and presented a Chinese version of the opera Manas eulogizing the national hero of Kyrgyzstan, with the art bringing the Chinese people and the Tajik people even closer.
Wang Yi said that in recent years, China has signed cooperation documents under the Belt and Road Initiative with the vast majority of member states and observer countries within the frameworks of the SCO and the CICA, and steadily aligned the development strategies, constantly delivering cooperation outcomes. During his attendance at the SCO Summit and the CICA Summit, President Xi Jinping exchanged in-depth views and reached broad consensus on how to implement the important outcomes of the second BRF, carry forward the values of the Belt and Road Initiative, accelerate regional connectivity, and improve the level of development and cooperation and other topics, injecting new impetus into the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
III. Carry forward the Shanghai Spirit and build cooperation model
Wang Yi said that the SCO has, since its inception 18 years ago, continuously consolidated solidarity and mutual trust, deepened practical cooperation in various fields, and actively participated in regional and international affairs, playing an important and constructive role in boosting regional peace and development and safeguarding international fairness and justice. China successfully held the SCO Qingdao Summit last June, leading the SCO to a higher stage of development after its membership expansion. During his attendance at the Bishkek Summit, President Xi Jinping, in light of the current complex international situation, called for continuously carrying forward the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and aspiration for common development. Xi Jinping also stressed that we should consolidate the basis for solidarity and mutual trust, build the shield security in the region, facilitate regional cooperation and development, enrich the connotation of international cooperation and build the SCO into an example of regional cooperation mechanism featuring solidarity and mutual trust, an example of common security, an example of mutually beneficial cooperation, and an example of inclusiveness and mutual learning.
President Xi Jinping put forth a series of important suggestions for enhancing cooperation among the member states according to the changes in the situation and the development of the SCO, including taking the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism's entering into effect as an opportunity to adopt deradicalization measures in line with national conditions; speeding up the consultation of an agreement on trade facilitation of the SCO and actively exploring the feasibilities of establishing the SCO development bank with new ways of thinking, in a bid to promote in-depth and solid progress from aspects of security and economy. Leaders of all countries who were present actively responded to the important proposals of President Xi Jinping, and agreed to take the Shanghai Spirit as the fundamental rule, steadily advance cooperation in such areas as security, economy and people-to-people and cultural engagement, maintain norms governing international relations and support the building of an open world economy, so as to jointly push the SCO for greater development at a new starting point. The Bishkek Declaration of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO was issued at the summit, which explicitly reflects the significant consensus above. At the summit, 22 important documents such as development plans of sub-national cooperation among member states and outlines for cooperation in digitalization and information and telecommunication were signed, which means cooperation in key areas are fully covered.
IV. Guide CICA cooperation and jointly build the future for Asia
Wang Yi said that since its establishment 27 years ago, the CICA has become Asia's largest and most representative security forum with the largest number of participants. During China's two consecutive terms as a chair of the CICA from 2014 to 2018, China successfully held the Shanghai Summit and advocated the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia, which was highly appraised by various sides of the CICA.
During his attendance at the CICA Summit in Dushanbe, President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech focusing on the member states' aspirations of pursing a better future of Asia. Xi Jinping proposed building an Asia where countries enjoy mutual respect and trust in light of the rise of Cold War mentality; building a secure and stable Asia in face of all kinds of challenges, traditional or otherwise; building a growing and prosperous Asia to meet all countries' expectations of enhancing regional cooperation; building an open and inclusive Asia against the resurging of "clash of civilizations"; and building a cooperative and creative Asia aiming at the difficulties facing sustainable development. The proposals of building Asia in the five aspects show the extensive consensus on the future development of Asia of various sides, expand the connotations and denotation of the CICA process and guide the concept and direction of regional cooperation. The leaders of all countries attending the summit spoke highly of the spirit of President Xi Jinping's speech, and all expressed that they will take the summit as a new starting point, continue to practice a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and deepen cooperation in confidence building measures in various fields, so as to promote greater contributions of the CICA to regional security and development.
V. Expound on principled stance and spread diplomatic concepts
Wang Yi noted that both the SCO and the CICA are crucial platforms of China's diplomacy. During the visits, President Xi Jinping clearly pointed out that China, as a member of the Asian family and a responsible major country in the global community, will stay committed to peaceful development and reject a beggar-thy-neighbor approach. China will stay committed to opening-up for win-win outcomes and share development opportunities with other countries and stay committed to practicing multilateralism to safeguard the international order underpinned by international law. China will continue to build peace, contribute to development and uphold order in the world, and work for a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
President Xi Jinping stressed that the Chinese side will work with other countries to advocate extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance, and firmly uphold the UN-centered international system and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core. He further pointed out that with regard to any problem that occurs on the economic and trade front, all sides need to act in the spirit of mutual respect and handle it appropriately through equal-footed dialogue and consultation in accordance with norms governing international relations and multilateral trading rules, rather than resort to protectionism and unilateralism at every turn. By taking such a position, China is upholding the legitimate development rights and interests of all countries and, for that matter, fairness and justice in the world. President Xi Jinping's view was understood and recognized by all parties. They generally believed that President Xi Jinping's proposals focus on the current situation, answer the key questions, show resolute confidence and showcase China's high sense of responsibility in dealing with international affairs.
On the sidelines of the SCO Summit, the three heads of state of China, Russia and Mongolia held the fifth meeting, and had discussions on such main topics as promoting the alignment of development strategies of the three countries, and advancing practical cooperation in various fields and the construction of the China-Russia-Mongolia Economic Corridor, sending a positive signal of promoting regional economic integration. During his attendance at the SCO Summit and the CICA Summit, President Xi Jinping met respectively with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and other leaders attending the summits. They exchanged views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern, thus promoting the further development of China's relations with the above countries.
Wang Yi said at last that President Xi Jinping's consecutive visits to Russia and countries in Central Asia include major-country diplomacy, neighborhood diplomacy, bilateral visits and multilateral conferences, and are China's significant diplomatic practices for continuously promoting global partnership, propelling the Belt and Road cooperation as well as resolutely safeguarding world peace and stability. The expected goals have been met with fruitful achievements being made. With the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China drawing near, we should take Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy as guidance, remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind. Despite all the accomplishments, we will never be complacent. Looking to the future, we will have every confidence and make new achievements while progressing along the long march in the new era.