China News Agency, Beijing
Source: People’s Daily Online
Mr. Wang Yi, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister, was interviewed by the media at the end of his visit to Central Asia a few days ago. He said that the epidemic has caused a serious impact on the world, but China and Central Asian countries did not press the pause button in the joint construction of the "Belt and Road". Instead, they went against the trend, showing strong resilience and vitality.
From July 12 to 16, Wang Yi was invited to visit Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. He also attended the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the meeting of foreign ministers of the “SCO-Afghanistan Liaison Group”, and the “Central Asia and South Asia: Challenges and Opportunities for Regional Connectivity" international conference.
Wang Yi pointed out in the interview that Central Asian countries are China’s close neighbors and important cooperation partners in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative. They are also the first place where the "Belt and Road" initiative was proposed and a model area where the initiative achieves results.
He said that China continues to be the main trade and investment partner of Central Asian countries. In 2020, the trade volume between the two sides exceeded 38.5 billion U.S. dollars, which is more than 80 times that of the two sides when they established diplomatic relations. The annual traffic volume and freight volume of the China-Europe express trains passing through Central Asia hit a record high. In the first half of this year, they bucked the trend and increased by more than 50%, becoming the “steel camel team” running through the Eurasian continent. The China-Europe express is also acting as the “main artery of the global industrial chain” and the "lifeline" of epidemic prevention. The China-Kazakhstan crude oil pipeline and the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline are operating well. China and Central Asian countries are at the forefront in resuming production. The largest wind power projects in Central Asia are connected to the grid for power generation. A large number of “Belt and Road” projects were not stalled due to the epidemic. On the contrary, substantial progress has been achieved. Those projects are making important contributions to local economic stability and people's livelihood. Chinese products, technology, and standards are becoming more and more popular among people in Central Asia.
Wang Yi said that China has embarked on a new journey of comprehensively building a modern socialist country. China is willing to work with Central Asian countries to build the high-quality “Belt and Road”, deepen interconnection and infrastructure construction, and jointly build the “healthy silk roads”, “digital silk roads” and “green silk roads”.
Translated by Li Wei