Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Global Times: China, Tajikistan elevate ties during Xi's landmark visit

BEIJING, July 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — China and Tajikistan on Friday announced the elevation of ties to comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ongoing state visit to Tajikistan, injecting new momentum and opening up a new chapter in bilateral ties and common development of the two countries.

The visit, which saw Xi award Tajik President Emomali Rahmon the Friendship Medal of the People’s Republic of China and the issuing of a joint statement detailing the blueprint for bilateral cooperation, is seen as a landmark event, underscoring the high-quality development and the elevation of bilateral ties led by head-of-state diplomacy, analysts said. It showed that the profound friendships between the two neighbors are "as steadfast as the Pamir Plateau," they noted.

Deepening of bilateral ties is based on mutual trust and mutual support of core interests, which shows that the two countries – despite with different cultures, size of the economy and the level of development – have been pioneering in the development of a new type of international relations that are characterized by mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, observers said.

In light of the new circumstances, more priority areas for bilateral cooperation are being laid out during the visit, which will inject new momentum and open up a new chapter to the collaboration of China and Tajikistan. The two countries will also gear up the joint building of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to create more growth opportunities for the Central Asian region.

Some of the other focal areas of collaboration also align with the goals set by the just concluded Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in safeguarding regional peace and stability, analysts said, expecting the two countries, upon the visit, to coordinate more efforts to tackle both conventional and nonconventional security threats.

Landmark visit

During his talks with Rahmon, Xi said China and Tajikistan are connected by mountains and rivers, interdependent like lips and teeth, and sharing a common destiny. The relationship between the two countries has deep historical roots, a solid political foundation, rich content of cooperation, and broad popular support, he added.

With joint efforts of both sides, China and Tajikistan have continuously deepened their political mutual trust, yielded fruitful results in the Belt and Road cooperation, and progressed a series of major projects smoothly, strongly promoting the common development of both countries, Xi said.

"The visit is a landmark event. It has achieved significant results, laying the future foundation for deepening strategic relations between China and Tajikistan," Guzel Maitdinova, a professor at the Department of Foreign Regional Studies and Foreign Policy at Russian-Tajik (Slavonic) University, told the Global Times.

Head-of-state diplomacy has a political advantage and is the greatest guarantee for the stable and long-term development of China-Tajikistan relations, observers noted.

The ongoing visit also marks Xi’s third state visit to Tajikistan in recent years. He also visited the Central Asian country in 2014 and 2019. The leaders of China and Tajikistan have been maintaining frequent interactions through various forms such as face-to-face meetings and phone calls, jointly steering and guiding the bilateral relationship.

The visit of China’s top leader has received warm welcome among the Tajik people.

The Global Times witnessed on Thursday night a grand ceremony which was held at Dushanbe International Airport to welcome Xi’s arrival in the country. Tajik young people dressed in traditional costume were performing folk dance and waving the national flags of China and Tajikistan at the airport. 

It is also interesting that some of the Tajik youth greeted the Global Times reporter and other Chinese visitors with bright smiles and simple Chinese such as "Nihao," the Chinese way of saying "Hello," with Chinese visitors responding in Tajik "Salom" in return, which offers a vivid display of the people-to-people connection between the two good neighbors and good friends.

"The bilateral relationship is built on a high level of trust and mutual assistance, and the momentum of development and progress of China-Tajikistan relations has remained unchanged," Chinese Ambassador to Tajikistan Ji Shumin told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

The two sides support each other on issues concerning their core interests, including national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. Both are firmly opposed to politicizing, instrumenting and applying double standards to the human rights issues, and to any country’s attempt to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights, according to Ji.

China and Tajikistan are also both founding members of the SCO, upholding the "Shanghai Spirit." In 2017, the two countries forged a comprehensive strategic partnership. And the two countries are committed to promoting the building of an SCO community with a shared future and a China-Central Asia community with a shared future, further strengthening mutual political trust through various cooperation frameworks.

"The relations between China and Tajikistan represent a collaboration between a major country and a smaller one, as well as between economies of different size, with different civilizations. Despite the disparities, the two countries managed to build a partnership based on an equal footing, which demonstrates a new type of international relations based on equality and consultation," Cui Heng, a scholar from the Shanghai-based China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, told the Global Times on Friday.

Opening up a new chapter of cooperation

Xi on Friday awarded Tajik President Emomali Rahmon the Friendship Medal of the People’s Republic of China in Dushanbe. It is the first time the award was presented outside of China.

When Xi revisited Dushanbe in June 2019, he also received the Order of the Crown from Rahmon, Xinhua reported at the time.

Awarding honors is a very important and significant diplomatic ceremony, and also a rare case of its kind, which underscores the "profound" friendship between China and Tajikistan and is a recognition to the close bilateral ties and the shared vision of the two neighbors, observers said.

The two presidents also attended the inauguration of a parliament building and a government building built with the assistance of China in Dushanbe.

When passing through the blue-domed new Parliament House of Tajikistan in the city center of Dushanbe, the Global Times noticed that the magnificent building has already become a new calling card of the capital, attracting crowds of local residents to take photos.

"Strengthening China-Tajikistan cooperation is important for Tajikistan to increase its level of economic development, develop infrastructure, energy and communication networks, and introduce innovative technologies, among other fields," Maitdinova said.

According to the joint statement, the two countries will jointly build the multimodal transport corridor linking China and Türkiye via regional countries including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran.

"The fruitful results will inject new dynamics to the further development of bilateral cooperation, in par with the ongoing cooperative efforts that are being steadily carried out between China and Tajikistan," Cui added.

Tajikistan is among the earliest countries to join the China-proposed BRI, and the country has been pairing the initiative with its National Development Strategy of Tajikistan for the period up to 2030, which has ushered in historic opportunities for cooperation. To date, China has become Tajikistan’s largest source of investment and aid, and one of Tajikistan’s most important trading partners.

The visit will also lay a foundation for the two countries to explore joint measures to counter pressing challenges, such as terrorism, extremism and separatism, or known as the "three evil forces," transnational organized crimes, drug trafficking and cyber threats, which makes the two countries a vital force in "maintaining regional peace and stability and promoting common development and prosperity," Maitdinova said.

The Chinese leader’s state visit to Tajikistan follows a busy schedule at the SCO. On Thursday the SCO summit was concluded in Astana, Kazakhstan, with China assuming the rotating presidency of the SCO for 2024 and 2025.

According to Cui, China and Tajikistan could also play a constructive role in helping implement the organization’s future development roadmap drawn out during the SCO summit.

In a statement following the summit, leaders of the SCO members called for the building of a multipolar world to address pressing security risks and challenges. They also urged coordinated efforts to tackle both conventional and nonconventional security threats.

Source : Global Times: China, Tajikistan elevate ties during Xi's landmark visit


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