Why President of Uzbekistan fly to China and what does he intend to discuss?

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Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev will visit China from January 23 to 25 on a state visit at the invitation of China's President Xi Jinping, the press service of the President of Uzbekistan announced.

Mirziyoyev will arrive in Beijing at the invitation of the Chinese leader, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying confirmed.

During the meeting with the Chinese leader, he plans to discuss several key issues, including political aspects, Uzbekistan's participation in Chinese gas projects, and the trade imbalance between the two countries.

The main goal of the negotiations will be to strengthen strategic partnership and expand practical cooperation between the two countries.

According to Alexander Kuznetsov, a former employee of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and deputy director of the Institute of Forecasting and Political Settlement, in the context of the recent election of pro-American candidate Lai Ching-te as president of Taiwan, which China seeks to reunite, Mirziyoyev's trip to Beijing can be seen as a sign of political support for Xi Jinping.

This could have significance during the negotiations, including on gas cooperation. Considering the reduction in domestic gas production, Tashkent is exploring solutions, including participation in a gas alliance with Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as seeking diversification of supplies through the "Central Asia-China" gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, which is important for the actively developing Uzbek gas chemical industry, the expert believes.

In addition to this, special emphasis in the negotiations will be placed on the discrepancy in trade volumes between China and Uzbekistan, which is expected to reach $10 billion soon.

Mirziyoyev intends to appeal to Xi Jinping to expand access for Uzbek goods to the Chinese market to balance trade relations.

It is also expected that the leaders will address security issues in light of the escalating situation in the northern provinces of Afghanistan.

Earlier, Mirziyoyev visited China in October 2023, where he participated in the "Belt and Road" forum and a session on the "Joint Construction of the 'Green' Silk Road for the Harmonious Coexistence of Humans and Nature."

During that visit, 41 cooperation agreements were signed between the two sides.

In which areas does China assist Uzbekistan?

Beijing actively assists Tashkent in the energy and transport logistics sectors. For instance, the Chinese company "China Southern Power Grid" intends to build a hydropower plant worth $1 billion in the Tashkent region of Uzbekistan.

During the "Belt and Road" forum in Beijing, the parties signed an agreement on the joint implementation of the "Upper Pskem" hydropower project in the Bostanlyk district of Uzbekistan.

In July 2023, "Uzbekgidroenergo" and China Southern Power Grid signed a memorandum of understanding on the construction of three hydropower plants with a total capacity of 820 MW: "Upper Pskem" (200 MW), "Karateren" (500 MW), and "Upper Pskem" (120 MW).

In addition, four Chinese companies: "China Power International," "CAMC Engineering," "Shaanxi Xiangsheng Industrial Group," and "China Huadian Engineering," will invest $1 billion in the construction of four photovoltaic stations in the Fergana region of Uzbekistan.

China provides significant assistance to Uzbekistan in the logistics sector as well. In late June 2023, China launched container shipments to Uzbekistan of its goods via a new multimodal route through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

The transport route passes through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Subsequently, containers are transferred to railway platforms, which, through Turkmenistan, are sent to the destination.

On May 18, 2023, a trilateral document was signed between China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, outlining the further steps for the construction project of the "China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan" railway.


January 22, 2024