ASHGABAT, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao met here on Sunday with Uzbek President Islam Karimov to exchange views on bilateral relations and other issues of common concern, and both leaders agreed to push forward bilateral ties.
Hu is in Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan, for a working visit at the invitation of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.
As guests of Berdymukhamedov, Hu, Karimov and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will attend a ceremony to inaugurate the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline on Monday.
In the meeting with his Uzbek counterpart, Hu said the relationship between China and Uzbekistan has been developing consistently and stably in an all-round manner. High-level contacts are frequent, political trust has been intensified and cooperative projects in many fields have yielded remarkable results.
Both nations have been mutually supportive on issues concerning each other's core interests, and both have sustained communication and collaboration in international and regional affairs, Hu said.
China has always attached great importance to developing its ties with Uzbekistan, which is seen as an important partner in central Asia, Hu said, and it is China's firm policy to safeguard and develop its relations with Uzbekistan.
China is willing to work with Uzbekistan to further high-level exchanges, deepen practical cooperation, and ensure the sound and stable development of the friendly cooperative partnership, Hu said.
On the gas transportation project, Hu said the Chinese side is ready to work together with Uzbekistan and to ensure a safe and smooth operation of the pipeline, and implement the agreements concerning the expansion of bilateral cooperation in gas and petrol fields.
The 1,833-km China-Central Asia gas pipeline starts from the border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and runs through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan before reaching northwest China's Xinjiang region.
Hu also proposed that the two countries deepen cooperation in developing mineral resources and carry out the relevant documents signed by the two parties. The long-term, stable, practical and mutually beneficial trade relations shall be consolidated, he said.
The Chinese leader said the role of the intergovernmental economic and trade cooperation commission shall be brought into full play and agreements reached at the eighth meeting of the Sino-Uzbekistan joint economic and trade commission shall also be substantiated.
Hu pointed out that cooperation should be promoted particularly in the fields of economy and trade, transportation, telecommunication, light industry and agriculture.
In terms of security, Hu said the Central-Asian region is confronted with grave security challenges. It is a common responsibility of all countries concerned, including China and Uzbekistan, to combat the "three forces" that engage in terrorism, separatism and extremism, and to safeguard the security and stability of the area, he said.
China is willing to consolidate contacts and cooperation with Uzbek law enforcement authorities and security departments to safeguard the national and regional stability, he said.
With the efforts of its member states, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been striving to offset the negative impacts brought by changes in international and regional affairs. The entity has exerted an important role in promoting the stability of the Central Asian region and safeguarding the common interests of the member states, Hu said.
As the rotating chair state of the SCO, Uzbekistan has actively coordinated the body's development and made a series of significant proposals, Hu said, and such efforts were highly valued and readily bolstered by the Chinese side. China is also obliged and ready to assist Uzbekistan in the hosting of the SCO summit next year, Hu said.
Karimov, on his part, said the development of bilateral relations is not only conducive to the two countries, but is also of great significance to maintaining peace and stability in the Central Asian region.
He said China is a most reliable and trust-worthy friend of Uzbekistan. Since the heads of state of the two countries met in Yekaterinburg in Russia earlier this year, bilateral practical cooperation have made substantial progress and entered a new era of development, and bilateral trade has grown rapidly, with a broad prospect of cooperation in the areas of natural gas, mining and cotton.
Karimov said, in response to the worsening of the international financial crisis, the Chinese government has adopted a series of effective measures to resolve the difficulties faced by China's economy and played an important role in promoting the growth of the world economy.
He said, against the backdrop of profound and complicated changes in today's world, Uzbekistan is ready to strengthen cooperation with China in various fields. He emphasized that Uzbekistan will adhere to the one-China policy and firmly support China's strike against the "three evil forces", "Taiwan independence" and "Tibet independence".
Karimov appreciated the major and active role that China has played in handling major international issues. He thanked China for its support to Uzbekistan in becoming the chair nation of the SCO.
He said Uzbekistan is ready to work with China to host a successful SCO summit in its capital of Teshkent next year.
Hu arrived in Ashgabat Sunday morning and will leave for home Monday.