|Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Sept. 9, 2013. Xi arrived here on Sept. 8, 2013 for a state visit to Uzbekistan. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
TASHKENT, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping tabled a five-point proposal on furthering pragmatic cooperation between China and Uzbekistan here on Monday.
China and Uzbekistan are important strategic partners of each other, Xi said when meeting with his Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov.
He called on the two countries to take a long-term perspective to chart the course of future development of their bilateral relations in the face of fresh changes in the international and regional situation as well as in their ties.
Firstly, Xi urged the two countries to raise the volume of two-way trade to five billion U.S. dollars by 2017. He called on the two to start talks on a free-trade zone as early as possible and expand mutual investment.
Secondly, China and Uzbekistan should deepen energy cooperation by ensuring the safe and stable operation of the China-Uzbekistan gas pipeline and expanding cooperation in such areas as natural gas processing, oil shale development and renewable energy, he said.
Thirdly, the two countries should promote infrastructure connectivity, Xi said, urging them to complete as soon as possible the rail and road networks linking China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Fourthly, they should build joint special industrial zones and agricultural demonstration parks, expand local-currency settlement as well as beef up cooperation in science and technology, he said.
Lastly, Xi called on the two countries to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Xi stressed that China-Uzbekistan relations boast a unique advantage of high-level mutual trust, urging the two countries to firmly support each other on their choice of development path and on issues concerning their core interests.
For his part, Karimov said China has provided sincere help in Uzbekistan's development, and it has been proven by facts that China is a great neighbor and a reliable partner.
Uzbekistan also appreciates China's important contributions to world peace and development, he said.
Karimov said energy cooperation is considered a priority, pledging to build a safe and reliable natural gas pipeline connecting the two countries.
Uzbekistan welcomes the investment of Chinese enterprises and is willing to promote the interconnectivity with China in such fields as trade, communication, transportation infrastructure and culture, he added.
The two leaders also exchanged views on the situation of Central Asia and agreed to deepen their law enforcement and defense cooperation, combat "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism, drug trafficking and transnational crimes, protect major cooperation projects, as well as maintain the peace and stability of both countries and the whole region.
They also voiced their joint position on Afghanistan, pledging support for the reconciliation and reconstruction efforts in the country.
After their talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation documents in such fields as economy and trade, energy, investment and financing.
Xi arrived here for a state visit to Uzbekistan late Sunday after wrapping up a trip to Kazakhstan. Earlier in his ongoing overseas trip, he visited Turkmenistan and attended a Group of 20 summit in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
After Uzbekistan, the Chinese president is to pay a state visit to Kyrgyzstan, where he will also attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.