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      10:26, April 19, 2019

Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

The year 2013 was the first year of the strategic partnership between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Uzbekistan. Bilateral relationship entered its third decade and a new stage of development.

The two countries enjoyed close high-level exchanges. From 8 to 10 September, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Uzbekistan. He held talks with Uzbek President Islam Karimov and visited the historical and cultural city of Samarkand with President Karimov's company. The two presidents signed and issued the Joint Declaration Between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Uzbekistan on Further Developing and Deepening the Strategic Partnership and signed the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation Between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Uzbekistan. They also witnessed the signing of nine documents including the intergovernmental transit agreement for Line D of the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline, the agreement on jointly opening a Confucius Institute in Samarkand and the MOU on mutual provision of diplomatic premises and land lots. From 28 to 29 November, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 12th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO in Uzbekistan. He met with President Islam Karimov and held talks with Prime Minister Shavkat Mirzieev. From 30 to 31 October, Meng Jianzhu, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of the CPC Central Committee, went to Uzbekistan for the second session of the Chinese-Uzbek Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee, where he met with President Karimov and held talks with First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Rustam Azimov. On 29 April, State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun met with Secretary of the Security Council of Uzbekistan Bahodir Tashmatov during the Eighth Meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Council of the SCO. On 22 September, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission General Fan Changlong met with Uzbek Defense Minister Kabul Bediev during his official visit to China, and State Councilor and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan held talks with him.

Practical cooperation between the two countries developed fast. China became Uzbekistan's second largest trading partner and largest investor. The two sides successfully held the second session of the Chinese- Uzbek Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee, and established a subcommittee on agricultural cooperation and convened its first meeting. The construction of the Uzbek section of Line C of the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline entered the final phase. The two sides signed the intergovernmental agreement on Line D of the China-Uzbekistan Gas Pipeline. Smooth progress was made in major projects such as the soda plant, potash fertilizer plant and power plant upgrade.

Sub-national exchanges and cultural cooperation further increased. The Chinese city of Xi'an in Shaanxi Province became a sister city of Samarkand of Samarkand Province. The second Confucius Institute in Uzbekistan will be launched in Samarkand. A Chinese Language Cultural Center was set up in the Uzbekistan State University of World Languages.