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Think tank forum calls for closer China-Central Asia community

Author  :  WANG CHUNYAN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2022-11-25

Diplomats and academics urged efforts to build a closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future at the Second Think Tank Forum of “China+Central Asia” (C+C5). Held in Beijing, both online and offline, on Nov. 8–9, the forum focused on identifying new opportunities for joint development.

In his congratulatory letter, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out that over the past three decades since their independence, Central Asian countries have devoted themselves to exploring a modernization path that suits their national conditions—with gratifying achievements. China will, as always, firmly support the development and revitalization of Central Asian countries and is willing to carry out all-encompassing mutually beneficial cooperation to jointly promote the modernization drive.

Gao Xiang, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), noted that at present, the world has entered a new period of turbulence and change amid the profound changes unseen in a century, as the pandemic continues to impact international politics, economies, and global security. China and Central Asian countries are closely interdependent and share prosperity and hardship.

“We are willing to work hand in hand with our partners in Central Asia to implement the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, maintain regional peace and stability, and jointly achieve more robust, green, and healthy new developments, building an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future,” Gao said.

In his congratulatory letter, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Vladimir Norov said that China is promoting the industrial and economic development of Central Asia and boosting infrastructure construction in the region, such as transportation and energy. China has become an important trade and investment partner for Central Asian countries. The successive implementation of a series of cooperation projects has propelled the economic and social development of Central Asian countries and enhanced the wellbeing of the people in the region.

Norov expressed his hope that Central Asian countries and China will continue to implement cooperation projects, enhance cooperation in the fields of the digital economy, food security, poverty reduction, and energy, facilitate academic exchanges, and jointly combat terrorism, extremism, separatism, and transnational organized crime.

Experts and scholars attending the forum conducted deep discussions on the construction of a China-Central Asia community with a shared future, and the future development and cooperation between the two sides.

Xu Bu, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said that since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the five Central Asian countries of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan 30 years ago, cooperation in various fields has achieved fruitful results and created a favorable environment for regional security and development. However, there have also been a series of challenges, such as the looming backlash against globalization, rising unilateral protectionism, and inadequate interconnectivity. Given this complex and serious situation, Xu called for strengthening the awareness of a community with a shared future, jointly responding to challenges, maintaining regional security, and cultivating new momentum for regional economic development.

Kanatbek Aziz, director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Kyrgyzstan, pointed out that in today’s world, no country can merely be concerned with its own interests in isolation; all countries need common development. Only by respecting each other’s interests and embracing each other’s differences can we achieve common development. Knowing this, we can understand why the concept of “a human community with a shared future” is gaining more and more support in the world.

The forum was co-hosted by the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at CASS and well-known think tanks from the five Central Asian countries.

Editor: Yu Hui

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