China and Kyrgyzstan have fostered an exemplary state-to-state relationship and should join hands to bring bilateral ties to a new height amid profound global changes, said Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Xi made the remarks in a signed article titled "May China-Kyrgyzstan Friendship Thrive Like an Evergreen Tree" and published Tuesday on Kyrgyz media on the eve of his state visit to the Central Asian country.
"The people of China and Kyrgyzstan are close neighbors sharing a long tradition of friendship," Xi said in the article, carried by the leading Slovo Kyrgyzstana newspaper and the state-run Kabar News Agency.
Recalling his first visit to the country six years ago, Xi said that trip ushered the China-Kyrgyzstan relationship into a new era of strategic partnership.
"Now six years on, it is heartening to see that this relationship has been upgraded further to a comprehensive strategic partnership, and that our friendship and cooperation are brimming with vigor and vitality like the mountains and grasslands in the prime of summer," he added.
The two countries, he pointed out, "are good neighbors, good friends, good partners, and good brothers," and have set "a fine example of a new type of state-to-state relations featuring mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation."
Xi noted that the China-Kyrgyzstan relationship is defined by stronger mutual political trust, deepening results-oriented cooperation, and closer people-to-people exchanges.
"China strongly supports the Kyrgyz people's independent choice of a development path suited to their national realities, and all policy measures taken by the Kyrgyz government to safeguard national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," Xi said.
"Likewise, Kyrgyzstan has rendered China full support and cooperation on issues related to Taiwan, Xinjiang and the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism," added the president.
Noting that Kyrgyzstan is one of the earliest supporters and participants of Belt and Road cooperation, Xi said major outcomes have been achieved through bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, energy, infrastructure development and connectivity.
China, he said, has become Kyrgyzstan's top trading partner and source of investment, with bilateral trade exceeding 5.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, a 150-fold increase from the early days of diplomatic engagement.
Meanwhile, more than 70,000 people traveled between the two countries and over 4,600 Kyrgyz students were studying in China in 2018, said the president, noting that four Confucius Institutes and 21 Confucius Classrooms are operating in Kyrgyzstan, and the Bishkek No. 95 Middle School built with Chinese assistance has become the most popular school in the local area.
Citing joint events commemorating celebrated Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aytmatov and the planned presentation of Chinese opera Manas in Kyrgyzstan, Xi said, "I believe this new rendition of our shared cultural heritage will wow the audience and help renew the friendship between China and Kyrgyzstan in this new era."
Looking into the future, Xi stressed that in a world undergoing changes unseen in a century, it is important for China and Kyrgyzstan to join hands and meet challenges together to ensure the sustained, steady and healthy growth of bilateral relations.
"I look forward to working with President (Sooronbay) Jeenbekov to draw up an ambitious blueprint for China-Kyrgyzstan comprehensive strategic partnership and bring our bilateral ties and all-round cooperation to a new height," he said.
China, he said, wants to work with Kyrgyzstan to enhance strategic trust, deepen Belt and Road cooperation, strengthen security cooperation, expand people-to-people exchanges and step up international cooperation.
"We will push for greater complementarity between our development strategies, work on the follow-ups to the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, deepen cooperation in such areas as agriculture, infrastructure development and connectivity, and promote trade and investment facilitation," Xi said.
China, he added, welcomes the active participation of Kyrgyz companies in the China International Import Expo, stands ready to buy more quality agricultural produce from Kyrgyzstan, and "will continue to do what it can to help and support Kyrgyzstan in its effort to grow its economy and better the lives of its people."
Meanwhile, "we will follow the vision for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in our joint fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism and against drug-trafficking and transnational organized crime to protect the life and property of our people and foster a regional security environment defined by harmony and stability," he said.
Stressing that affinity between friends and neighbors grows as exchange of visits increases, he suggested that the two sides "elevate our cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, health, youth, media and joint archaeological exploration in a bid to bring our two peoples closer to each other."
China and Kyrgyzstan, he said, will also strengthen communication and coordination at the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and other multilateral frameworks.
They will "uphold basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, support multilateralism, advance economic globalization, and promote a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind," he added.
As regards the SCO, Xi, who will also attend this year's SCO summit in Kyrgyzstan, said the regional organization "has served as a good example of a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation, and played an irreplaceable role in promoting stability and prosperity in our region."
Noting that the SCO has prioritized cooperation in security, economy, people-to-people exchanges, and outreach to non-SCO members, Xi said all these efforts "have contributed to our vision of a closer SCO community with a shared future."
"I am convinced that, with the collective efforts of all sides, the Bishkek Summit will produce fruitful results, bring about greater development of the SCO, and deliver even more benefits to the people across the region," he said.