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Xi kicks off state visit to Tajikistan, eyeing new heights in bilateral cooperation

2024-07-05 16:48:00Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here on Thursday night, commencing his state visit to Tajikistan following a busy schedule at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon welcomed Xi at the Dushanbe International Airport with a grand ceremony, where around 1,500 Tajik youths in traditional attire dancing and waving the national flags of China and Tajikistan.

Upon arrival, Xi expressed his anticipation for discussions with Rahmon to formulate new plans and arrangements for the development of China-Tajikistan relations in light of the new circumstances.

Xi said with concerted efforts from both countries, this visit is expected to be a complete success, elevating all-round cooperation between China and Tajikistan to new heights.

President Xi's state visit to Tajikistan will inject new and strong momentum into developing and strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, Rahmon told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Rahmon also said the China-Tajikistan relations have entered a new historical stage, opening up new prospects for extensive cooperation.

Recent years have seen close interactions between the two heads of state. During Xi's visit to Tajikistan in 2019, he was awarded the Order of the Crown from Rahmon in Dushanbe. Both countries pledged to build a China-Tajikistan development community and security community.

In May 2023, during the China-Central Asia Summit, the two leaders jointly announced the building of a China-Tajikistan community with a shared future featuring everlasting friendship, solidarity and mutual benefit.

"These initiatives and joint decisions to create a community have already yielded tangible results," said Abdugaffor Abdujabbor, former head of the International Relations Department of Tajikistan's Culture Ministry.

Abdujabbor highlighted two China-assisted edifices on Rudaki Avenue, the main thoroughfare of Dushanbe: the government building and the Parliament building, referring to them as new landmarks of the capital.

"This is the fruit of the friendship between our two leaders," he told Xinhua. "They share a great sympathy, pure friendship, and mutual understanding."

"Xi's words are matched by his actions; what he said is always felt in practice," he added.

Tajikistan is a neighbor of China. Trade between China and Tajikistan doubled from 2013 to 2023. China has become the largest source of investment in Tajikistan and its second-largest trading partner.

Tajikistan was among the first countries to support the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by Xi in 2013 and sign related cooperation agreements with China. Under the BRI framework, a series of China-Tajikistan cooperation and aid projects have been implemented in key areas such as infrastructure, metallurgy, energy, cement, and the cotton textile industry.

"The space for practical cooperation between China and Tajikistan is broad, and the prospects are promising," Chinese Ambassador to Tajikistan Ji Shumin told Xinhua.

The two countries firmly support each other on issues concerning their core interests, Ji said. Both countries have suffered from the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism, and separatism and advocate for a common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security concept, he added.

On the streets of Dushanbe, many young people can speak Chinese, and it's common to hear locals greeting visitors from China with "Nihao," which means "hello" in Mandarin.

"In Tajikistan, there has been a noticeable increasing interest in China, in the study of the Chinese experience of modernization, Chinese culture and language," said Abdurakhim Juraev, professor at the Tajik State University of Law, Business and Politics in Khujand.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of Tajik students attending Confucius Institutes in their country or studying in China. Take the Confucius Institute at the Tajik National University as an example. Since its establishment in August 2008, the institute has trained nearly 39,000 Chinese language learners.

The Luban Workshop in Tajikistan, co-founded by China's Tianjin Urban Construction Management and Vocation Technology College and Tajik Technical University, has been training skilled professionals, contributing to Tajikistan's vocational education, industrialization, and modernization efforts.

The visit of President Xi, said Juraev, will give new impetus to cooperation between the two countries and will contribute to the overall prosperity of Central Asia.

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