|Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambaev sign a joint declaration on establishing a strategic partnership between the two countries, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Sept. 11, 2013. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)|
BISHKEK, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambaev agreed here on Wednesday to lift bilateral ties to a strategic partnership.
The move marks a new milestone in China-Kyrgyzstan relations and bears profound significance, Xi said in a meeting with Atambaev.
The Chinese president urged both countries to support each other on political issues, coordinate their actions on security, and cooperate with each other on economic growth.
By this means, the two countries should strive to make the China-Kyrgyzstan relationship a fine example of relations between neighboring countries, which features equality, trust and win-win cooperation, Xi said.
China's biggest hope is to maintain long-term neighborly friendship with Kyrgyzstan, as the two countries are as close as lips and teeth and share weal and woe with each other, Xi said.
China supports Kyrgyzstan to choose its own development path, and backs its efforts in safeguarding independence, sovereignty and national security and spurring social and economic development, Xi said.
The two sides should maintain close communication to combat the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism, including "East Turkistan," in order to safeguard common security and stability.
On economic cooperation, Xi said both countries should accelerate major projects such as construction of Line D of the China-Central Asia gas pipeline, expand bilateral trade, and strengthen cooperation in electricity, energy, transportation, agriculture and border areas.
The two sides should also enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges, said Xi.
Atambaev, for his part, said China is a great neighbor and reliable friend of Kyrgyzstan, and has offered sincere support for and assistance to his country.
Kyrgyzstan values stronger cooperation with China, and believes Xi's current visit will boost bilateral cooperation and promote the long-term, stable development of bilateral ties.
Moreover, Kyrgyzstan supports Xi's advocation of building an economic belt along the Silk Road, and stands ready to expand cooperation with China on trade and economy, energy, communications, transportation and culture, said Atambaev.
The Central Asian country will work with China to enhance coordination on security, law-enforcement and defense to jointly combat the "three evil forces," Atambaev added.
The two presidents agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to promote unity and cooperation among member states and the healthy and stable development of the organization in order to safeguard regional peace, stability and prosperity.
After the meeting, the two heads of state signed a joint declaration on establishing a strategic partnership between the two countries, and witnessed the signing of a raft of cooperation deals on trade and economy, energy, investment, financing and medicine.
Xi and Atambaev also spoke to the press.
The upgrade of China-Kyrgyzstan relations, said Xi, sets a new goal for future bilateral ties.
Both sides should regard it as a new starting point for enhancing political mutual trust, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation and bringing more benefits to the two peoples, Xi said.
Under the concerted efforts of China and Central Asian countries, the economic belt along the Silk Road is bound to reap fruitful results in the near future, Xi added.
The Chinese president arrived here late Tuesday for a state visit to Kyrgyzstan, where he will also attend a SCO summit.
Kyrgyzstan is the last stop of Xi's ongoing foreign visit, which has taken him to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. He also attended a Group of 20 summit on Sept. 5-6 in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.