30 years of China-Central Asia relations experience exceptional trajectory


President Xi Jinping has chaired a virtual summit commemorating the 30 years of strong diplomatic ties between China and Central Asian Republics recently. The meeting is the first high-level diplomatic engagement between China and Central Asian heads of state this year. The meeting is an important step towards reviewing the achievements and building further the relations through renewed plans for future together between China and the Central Asian States.

At this new historical juncture, President Xi Jinping was joined by the heads of states including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The heads of states in their important remarks shared how these significant diplomatic, political, economic and strategic ties evolved over the years. A joint statement was issued at the end of this important summit to celebrate the diplomatic ties and to strengthen the travel, investment and security cooperation for regional peace and stability.

Over the past three decades, the relations between China and the Central Asian states have experienced an exceptional trajectory. Since assuming office, President Xi Jinping has also continuously made arrangements to forge closer cooperation with Central Asia in diverse areas of cooperation. The landmark breakthroughs and achievements made these connections exemplary diplomatic ties at the global scale. This contributes towards the overall building of a shared future for mankind.

To build strong ties with Central Asian states, China has maintained the principles of mutual respect, mutual trust, good neighbourliness, equality of cooperation and support in diverse fields. At this historic juncture, all the sides are aspiring to build these relations to the next best level.

At the diplomatic level, China enjoys strong ties with all the central Asian countries. China has extensive support to the Central Asian States on all the pertinent issues and always abides by the strict principle of noninterference in the internal matters of the states. China has not only strong bilateral ties with each Central Asian state but the countries support each other on the regional and international multilateral levels as well.

On multilateral levels, China and Central Asian states are part of international protocols and several international organisations including the UN, WTO, WHO and several others. At the regional level in 2001, China with Russia and the Central Asian States established one of the most important and significant multilateral frameworks of cooperation in the shape of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

It has been more than two decades since the foundation and over all these years, SCO has gained and made a substantial contribution towards overall peace, development and security cooperation in the region. In SCO, China together with the Central Asian States, Russia and other members, observers and dialogue partners are fighting extremism, terrorism and separatism.

China has always supported the multilateral approach to building strong strategic, security and economic ties. The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the Eurasian Economic Union and other such regional initiatives in the region along with SCO are helping build synergies amongst states for future peace and prosperity.

China and the Central Asia countries have increased their trade volume over the past three decades and there has been more than USD 14 billion foreign direct investment in the countries by China according to the Chinse official financial institutions. The trade has built from simple consumer goods to high tech scientific products. In 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was first proposed by President Xi Jinping when he was on his official visit to Kazakhstan and Indonesia.

Due to geographical proximity, the regional cooperation between China and Central Asia has been enhanced through various communications and connectivity projects under BRI. With trillions of investments on BRI projects, Chinese enterprises have made billions of investments in these states. Recently, the freight service from China to Europe made 15,000 trips in 2021 passing through most of the Central Asian States offering tremendous opportunities for growth in togetherness.

Soon after the emergence of the pandemic engulfs the entire globe with its wrath, China not only fights courageously the virus at home but offers support to the neighbouring countries including the Central Asian states, where the governments were struggling with health care and economies. In these challenging times, China helped and backed the growth potential of the regional states through offering vaccines and health care supplies by creating the “Health Silk Road.”

The high-level diplomatic, political, strategic and economic engagement based on mutual congeniality between China and Central Asia reflects that there is a greater chance for the region to prosper by leaps and bounds.