China is willing to deepen exchanges and cooperation with Uzbekistan in the fields of defense and security, Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan said in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, on Wednesday.
Cao, also vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission and state councilor, made the remarks at a meeting with Uzbek Deputy Defense Minister R. Niyazov.
China and Uzbekistan have witnessed smooth development in their bilateral ties and frequent high-level exchanges since the two countries established diplomatic relations 15 years ago, he said.
Cao spoke of a meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Uzbek President Islam Karimov June 2006, when the two heads of state reached important consensus on China-Uzbekistan ties and their all-around cooperation in various areas at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
The two countries continuously push forward their cooperation in the fields of trade and economy, energy, telecom and humanities, Cao said, adding that China and Uzbekistan have conducted fruitful cooperation within the framework of international multilateral cooperation, such as the United Nations and the SCO.
China is grateful for Uzbekistan’s support regarding the Taiwan question and the crackdown on the "East Turkistan" terrorist organization, and will unswervingly support the Central Asian country’s efforts in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and security, he said.
The development of a long-standing and stable China-Uzbekistan friendly cooperative partnership is not only a settled policy of the Chinese government, but also a common wish of the two peoples, said Cao.
As for relations between the two nations’ armies, he said China will make concerted efforts with Uzbekistan to jointly safeguard the two countries’ security and boost the development of bilateral relations, Xinhua reported.
For his part, Niyazov said the general situation remains stable in Central Asia, but some inherent problems have not been eliminated.
He termed terrorism and drug-trafficking as two unstable factors in the region.
Uzbekistan must develop its armed forces to effectively cope with challenges, Niyazov said, adding that his country is willing to further enhance cooperation in defense and security between the two neighbors and within the framework of the SCO.
Cao arrived here on Tuesday to attend a defense ministers’ meeting of the SCO, which comprises six member countries, namely China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The organization, founded in Shanghai in 2001, pledges to enhance security, trade, cultural, military and judicial cooperation among member countries.