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Keynote Speech of Wu Bangguo at the Supreme Assembly of Uzbekistan (Full Text)

In the morning of September 23, 2011, Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC) who was paying an official goodwill visit to Uzbekistan delivered a keynote speech titled Carrying Forward Good-neighborly Friendship and Achieving Common Development to the Legislative Chamber of the Supreme Assembly of Uzbekistan. The full text of the speech is as follows:

Carrying Forward Good-neighborly Friendship and Achieving Common Development
--Speech Delivered to the Legislative Chamber of the Supreme Assembly of Uzbekistan
Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China
(September 22, 2011, Tashkent)

Honorable Speaker Toshmuhamedova,
Distinguished parliamentarians,
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Today, I'm very glad to have this opportunity to meet the parliamentarian friends and people from all circles in the Legislative Chamber of the Supreme Assembly on the occasion of my official goodwill visit to Uzbekistan. First of all, I'd like to convey the Chinese people's sincere greetings and best wishes to all of you and through you to the Uzbek people and express heartfelt gratitude and highest respect to the Supreme Assembly and the parliamentarians who are committed to China-Uzbekistan friendship.

Uzbekistan is a country with important influence in Eurasia. The endless Amu River and Syr Darya River cultivated the centuries-old Central Asian civilization, the diligent and intelligent people of Uzbekistan created glorious history and culture, those historic cities of Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara are world renowned and the Liejisitan Theological Seminary, Ulugh Beg Observatory, Jacques Castle and other historic sites are well known. Since Uzbekistan became independent 20 years ago, your people, under the leadership of President Karimov, have actively explored the development path in line with your national conditions and achieved social and political stability, steady economic growth, national unity and harmony, peaceful and happy life of the people, rising comprehensive national strength and international status as well as outstanding progress of national construction. President Karimov signed the decree of industrial development priorities not long ago planning to invest US$30 billion within the next 5 years to implement 259 industrial projects, further attract foreign investment, adjust industrial structure and develop competitive industries, which outlines a bright future of Uzbekistan's economic and social development. The cradle of ancient Central Asian civilization is thriving and the young Republic of Uzbekistan is flourishing. People of China, as a sincere friend and friendly neighbor, feel truly glad about the progress made by the Uzbek people and sincerely wish you make greater achievements in the process of development and national revitalization.

China and Uzbekistan are close neighbors and our people enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges. As early as more than 2,000 years ago, a Chinese called Zhang Qian travelled across the desert to the west twice, opening the prelude of China-Uzbekistan friendly exchanges. The ancient Silk Road established a bridge for the flow of commodities and a link of cultural exchanges between China and Uzbekistan. Our people live in harmony and stay in close touch, writing a glorious chapter in the history of human civilization exchanges. It is encouraging that the traditional China-Uzbekistan friendship is shining more brilliantly under new historical conditions. Since the two countries established diplomatic ties nearly 20 years ago, the bilateral relations, under the direct support of leaders of both sides, have grown rapidly in an all-round manner. In 2004, President Hu Jintao visited Uzbekistan successfully and announced with President Karimov the establishment of bilateral friendly cooperative partnership. In April this year, President Karimov visited China successfully and the two heads of state reached broad consensus on developing the long-term stable China-Uzbekistan friendly cooperative partnership, which injected new vitality into the bilateral relations. Currently, the bilateral relations stand in the best historical period, bring tangible benefits to the two countries and our people and make positive contributions to regional peace and prosperity. Politically, China and Uzbekistan enjoy deep mutual trust, support each other firmly on issues concerning each other's core interests and maintain close coordination and cooperation in regional and international affairs. In the security field, China and Uzbekistan work closely to crack down on the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism and safeguard our security and development interests. In terms of trade and economy, the bilateral cooperation in the key sectors of energy, transportation and communications is fruitful. The China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline and the Dehkanabad potash fertilizer plant operate soundly. The bilateral trade volume in 2010 reached US$2.48 billion, up 29.2% over the previous year and growing 47 times compared with that when the two countries just established diplomatic ties. China's investment in Uzbekistan reached US$1.65 billion, making China the biggest investor country of Uzbekistan for two consecutive years. The two countries have confirmed the target of US$5 billion of trade volume by 2015 and signed the agreement on China's procurement of natural gas from Uzbekistan, the framework agreement on joint development of uranium deposits and the non-resource and high-tech cooperation planning. It is also worth mentioning that the parliaments of our two countries enjoy ever increasing exchanges. Chairman Sabirov and I exchanged visit this year successfully, which raises our parliamentary exchanges to a high level and will promote the in-depth development of state relations. I believe the China-Uzbekistan relations based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit will for sure embrace a brighter tomorrow.

Ladies and gentlemen!

China is a member of the Asian family and has the biggest number of neighboring countries in the world. There is an old Chinese saying that a near neighbor is better than a distant cousin. Since New China was founded over 60 years ago, especially since China launched reform and opening up more than 30 years ago, we have given top priority in our diplomatic work to developing friendly relations with our neighboring countries, resolutely adhered to the diplomatic principle of being a good friend and a good partner of our neighbors and been committed to the good-neighborly friendship.

First, we take mutual respect as the political basis of good-neighborly friendship. We treat all neighboring countries equally and sincerely no matter they are big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor and develop relations with them on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence. We have signed bilateral friendship treaties with almost all the neighboring countries, established various forms of partnerships and built the bilateral or multilateral regular meeting mechanisms of national leaders. No matter how the international situation or the domestic situation changes, we remain committed to developing the bilateral friendly relations for the purpose of maintaining the state relations and protecting the fundamental interests of people of both countries. On the internal affairs of neighboring countries, such as social system, development path and internal and external policies, we never impose our will upon them. We fully respect the choice made by the people in line with their own national conditions, fully respect the cultural traditions, values and religious practices of other countries and fully respect their efforts of maintaining stability and growing economy. On border issues with neighboring countries, we always uphold the principle of friendly consultation, mutual understanding and seeking solutions through sincere dialogue and peaceful negotiations. We have signed 19 border treaties and agreements and 22 boundary demarcation and joint inspection protocols with relevant countries, demarcated and surveyed approximately 20,000 km of borderline and completely solved the historical land border issues with the majority of neighboring countries.

Second, we take peace and tranquility as the important guarantee of good-neighborly friendship. China pursues a defensive national defense policy. Our purpose of strengthening national defense is to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We solemnly declare to the world never to seek hegemony and solemnly promise not to use nuclear weapons first and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states. We advocate the new security concept of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation, promote the establishment of military mutual trust and consultation and dialogue mechanisms with neighboring countries, participate in the ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus, Shangri-La Dialogue and other multilateral cooperation mechanisms and signed the agreement on enhancing military trust in border areas and the agreement on mutual reduction of military forces with Russia and Central Asian neighboring countries. On regional hotspot issues, we have consistently advocated related parties seek peaceful solutions through dialogue. We uphold an objective and impartial stance, actively promote peace talks, make great mediation efforts, back up the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and participate in the process of resolving the Iranian nuclear issue. We never do anything which complicates the existing problems or harms our relations with neighbors. We promote the active efforts of the SCO of dealing with increasingly serious non-traditional security threats, such as terrorism, transnational crime, natural disasters and public health events. We call for holding a China, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN ministerial meeting on cracking down on cross-border crimes. We have established the six-country seven-party anti-drug cooperation mechanism with Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and the UNDCP and signed China-ASEAN drug control cooperation program. Promoting the building of a dialogue and cooperation platform for disaster reduction, we have signed 35 bilateral or multilateral disaster reduction and relief documents with neighboring countries. We actively participate in the major natural disaster relief operations of neighboring countries, hold the special meeting of China and ASEAN on preventing and treating atypical pneumonia and avian flu, establish China-ASEAN public health cooperation fund and cooperate on early warning, crisis management and mutual epidemic prevention assistance to increase the regional capacity of handling major natural disasters and public health emergencies.

Third, we take common development as the fundamental purpose of good-neighborly friendship. While continuing to expand the bilateral trade volume, we make special efforts to import more from neighboring countries. We facilitate the exports of neighboring developing countries, especially the least developed ones to China by cutting or exempting tariff unilaterally, eradicating non-tariff barriers and holding commodity fairs. China has been Asia's largest import market for many years. We imported US$834.6 billion last year alone and had a trade deficit of US$102.5 billion. While increasing investment in the neighboring countries, we encourage Chinese businesses which invest there to take an active part in the local economic and social development, expand cooperation areas, extend industrial chain, hire more local employees, train professional technicians, assume social responsibilities and help developing countries enhance their own capacity of development. China's non-financial investment in Asian countries and regions has accumulatively reached US$200.6 billion, making up 70% of its total foreign investment and increased by US$38.3 billion last year. We actively promote the local-level mutually beneficial cooperation, especially in the border areas. We have opened 278 class-one ports and held 7 China-ASEAN Expos. A number of cooperation platforms in Central Asia like the China-Eurasia Expo and Horgos International Border Cooperation Center have taken shape. On regional cooperation, while trying our best to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, we give top priority to strengthening infrastructure interconnectivity, support cross-region road, railway, waterway, energy pipeline, information and telecom infrastructure construction through providing preferential credit and development aid and setting up cooperation funds. We strive to forge the landscape in which we complement each other with advantages, grow together and share prosperity. Completely built in 2010, China-ASEAN Free Trade Area is the largest free trade area among developing countries. It achieved US$292.8 billion of trade volume that year, an increase of 38% over the previous year. In response to the international financial crisis in 2008, we generously assisted developing countries, especially our neighboring countries while struggling to overcome our own difficulties. We signed RMB650 billion of bilateral currency swap agreements with relevant countries and regions, built the regional foreign exchange reserve worth US$120 billion under the ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea cooperation framework, set up the US$10 billion of China-ASEAN investment fund and provided US$10 billion of credit support for other members of the SCO. In recent years, China is making increasing contributions to the economic growth of Asia. Asian emerging economies grow vigorously and have been recognized worldwide as the most dynamic and potential of economic block.

Here I'd like to stress that China unswervingly pursues the road of peaceful development and implements the diplomatic principle of being a good friend and a good partner of neighboring countries because it is a strategic choice we make in compliance with the development trends and our own strategic interests. It will not change because of the growth of China's comprehensive national strength. We keenly understand that China's rapid development of more than 30 years since reform and opening up is attributed to the peaceful and stable external environment, the mutually beneficial cooperation with the neighboring countries and the world at large and the learning of the achievements of human civilizations. To realize socialist modernization and enable the 1.3 billion of Chinese people to live an affluent life, China must cherish more than ever the hard-won peaceful environment, more resolutely implement the mutually beneficial and win-win strategy of opening up and more sincerely develop friendly relations with all countries. Practices have and will continue to prove that China's development means opportunities and contributions to our neighboring countries and the world rather than trouble or threat. China was, is and will always be a positive factor and a strong force of safeguarding regional and world peace and promoting common development. China is willing to work with neighboring countries to deepen the good-neighborly friendship, expand pragmatic cooperation and promote common development, be good neighbors, good friends and good partners forever and jointly write a new chapter of peace, cooperation and harmony.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Located in the center of the Eurasian continent, Central Asian countries boast long history, splendid culture and abundant resources and your rapid development and unique geographical advantages are drawing the attention of the world. As a friendly neighbor, China has always attached great importance to developing friendly cooperation with Central Asian countries, firmly support you to pursue the development road complying with your own national conditions, resolutely support your efforts to safeguard national security, grow the economy and improve people's livelihood and unswervingly support you to play a greater role in the regional and international affairs.

We are delighted to see that the relations between China and Central Asian countries have achieve leapfrog development with the joint efforts of both sides and the Chinese people's traditional friendship with the people of Central Asian countries is passed on from generation to generation. Leaders of our two sides visit each other frequently just like relatives. So far, the Chinese head of state has paid 22 visits to Central Asian countries and the heads of state of Central Asian countries visited China 47 times. Our leaders meet regularly on multilateral occasions. During the SCO summit in Astana not long ago, President Hu Jintao met again with the heads of state of four Central Asian countries and exchanged in-depth opinions on the bilateral relations and other major issues of common concern, built consensus and planned the future and vigorously promoted the development of China's relations with Central Asian countries. We firmly support each other on the major issues concerning each other's core interests, closely cooperate to fight the "three forces" and collaborate in regional and international affairs. It is even more encouraging that economic and trade cooperation has become a highlight of relations between China and Central Asian countries. The bilateral trade increased 65 times within just 20 years and a number of pioneering large cooperation projects are implemented successfully. The China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline starting from the border of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan was put into operation and after completion Line C which is under construction will increase gas supply to China by 25 billion cubic meters annually. The more than 3,000 km of China-Kazakhstan oil pipeline phase one project has started operation and phase two will be completed and put into operation in 2013, which will further consolidate the material foundation of the bilateral relations. We have every reason to believe that the relations between China and Central Asian countries can be said as the role model of good-neighborly friendship and common development.

The world today is undergoing major changes and adjustments and faces both unprecedented opportunities and unprecedented challenges. For China and Central Asian countries, it is more strategically significant and pressing than ever before to jointly build the comprehensive and high-level good-neighborly friendship and mutually beneficial cooperative relations. The purpose of my visit to Central Asia is to further implement the consensus reached by leaders of both sides, consolidate the traditional friendship, deepen the pragmatic cooperation and promote relations between China and Central Asian countries. To this end, I would like to raise the following proposals:

First, we should step up strategic cooperation on the basis of consolidating political mutual trust. Fully understanding each other's major concerns and firmly supporting each other's core interests are the unique strategic advantage of the good-neighborly friendship between China and Central Asian countries. The two sides should strengthen political support, speak out loudly in a timely manner and appropriate ways and extend firm support on the major issues concerning each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security, stability and development both at the bilateral and the multilateral levels. We should reinforce strategic collaboration in regional and international affairs, share information, coordinate position and maintain common interest on such global issues as global economic governance, address climate change and energy resources security and try to build a regional and international environment beneficial to peaceful development. We should strengthen the friendly exchanges between people, especially the youth, enable our people to know, understand and feel close to each other, make the good-neighborly friendship deeply rooted in the heart of people and pass this friendship from generation to generation so as to consolidate the social and public opinion basis of state relations.

Second, we should build closer economic ties on the basis of mutual benefit. Deepening bilateral pragmatic cooperation and promoting regional economic integration are the real needs of China and Central Asian countries in order to achieve common development. According to our own national development strategy, we should seize the opportunities of economic restructuring to complement each other in the economic sector, actively promote wind, solar and other clean energy cooperation while implementing steadily existing major project cooperation and deepening cooperation on oil and gas resources, tap the potential of cooperation in the non-resource areas, such as agriculture, manufacturing, high-tech industries, transportation and finance, advance educational, health and tourism cooperation, strengthen local pragmatic cooperation, especially in the border areas and foster new growth points of economic and technological cooperation and business cooperation. The two sides should vigorously promote regional economic cooperation, actively implement the SCO member states' multilateral trade and economic cooperation program, focus on strengthening the regional transport, energy, telecommunications and other infrastructure network construction, earnestly implement the customs, quality inspection and transportation facilitation measures, accelerate the building of regional energy security, financial security, food security cooperation mechanisms, push forward trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and speed up regional economic integration.

Third, we should enhance capacity of resisting real threats on the basis of strengthening security cooperation. Combating the "three forces" and ensuring regional peace are the long and arduous task faced by both China and Central Asian countries. China and Central Asian countries have made ​​great efforts to maintain peace and tranquility in the region and achieved remarkable results. We should also realize that the "three forces" are getting active again, transnational organized crimes become more rampant and the security situation in the region is more complex as regional and international hotspot issues keep emerging. We must firmly grasp the core issues and key factors which influence the regional security, establish a more comprehensive security cooperation system, actively implement the Shanghai convention on fighting against the "three forces", earnestly implement the bilateral security cooperation agreements, deepen security dialogue and consultation and information exchange, continue to hold regular joint anti-terrorism exercises, enhance security cooperation on large events, strive to increase the organizational capacity for action and rapid response capability, fiercely combat the "three forces" and effectively curbing drug trafficking, arms smuggling and other transnational organized crimes to ensure lasting peace and stability in the region.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Initiated in 2001, the SCO follows the world trends of peace, cooperation and development and reflects the common aspiration of the people in the region for peace, cooperation and development. Guided by the Shanghai spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respecting diversified civilizations and seeking common development for ten years, the SCO has grown stably, healthily and rapidly. With more comprehensive cooperation mechanisms, more diversified cooperation areas and remarkable cooperation results, the SCO has become an important guarantee for regional peace and stability, a powerful driving force for the development and prosperity of member states and a constructive force for democracy in international relations. The next 10 years will be a critical period for the SCO's development and for the development of member states and regional stability. China took over the rotating presidency of the SCO in June this year. We are ready to work with all the other member states to promote the Shanghai spirit, work hard to make the "good-neighborly friendship year" a full success, plan the development blueprint for the next 10 years and build the SCO into a open and harmonious regional cooperation organization with sophisticated mechanisms, smooth coordination and all-round cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen!

In another three months, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Uzbekistan. The bilateral relations are standing at a new historical starting point. Looking back, our cooperation was fruitful and gratifying; looking ahead, our cooperation is promising and inspiring. Let us join hands to carry forward the good-neighborly friendship, deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation and work hard to push forward China-Uzbekistan friendly cooperative partnership and achieve lasting peace and common prosperity in the region!

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