TASHKENT, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday pledged efforts to enhance cooperation with Uzbekistan when meeting here with his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov.
The two leaders also exchanged views on prospects of bilateral ties and on international and regional issues of common concern.
Hu hailed the development of Sino-Uzbek ties since the two countries announced the establishment of friendly and cooperative partnership in 2004.
China highly appreciates Uzbekistan's continued and firm support in issues concerning China's core interests, said Hu. China respects the independence and sovereignty of Uzbekistan, and will as always back its efforts in safeguarding stability, developing its economy and improving people's livelihoods, Hu added.
Hu noted that China has always attached great importance to developing Sino-Uzbek relations and has taken as guiding principles long-term friendship, mutual respect, mutual trust, and equality and mutual benefit.
China will not alter its stance despite changes in international and regional situations, Hu said.
The Chinese leader meanwhile put forward a six-point proposal for enhancing the friendly and cooperative partnership with Uzbekistan.
He said that, first of all, the two countries should maintain high-level contacts to boost mutual understanding, including exchanges between heads of state, between parliaments, governments and political parties.
Secondly, China and Uzbekistan should enhance energy cooperation. Both sides should well implement the Uzbekistan-China natural gas pipeline project, boost cooperation in oil and gas exploration and development, and speed up cooperation in minerals, Hu said.
Thirdly, the two countries should expand cooperation in new sectors, particularly in high technology and new technology, and work to establish a long-term trading partnership, Hu said.
Fourthly, the two countries should deepen security cooperation and take severe measures against the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism. Law enforcement and security departments in both countries should continue to boost two-way cooperation as well as cooperation in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to safeguard peace, stability and security of the two countries and of the region, Hu said.
Fifthly, the two countries should also strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges to consolidate the foundation for friendship, said Hu, who welcomed more Uzbek students to study in China.
Sixthly, Hu urged both sides to intensify multilateral coordination so as to safeguard the two countries' common interests.
The Chinese president spoke highly of Uzbekistan's efforts in deepening cooperation among SCO member countries, enhancing the internal construction of the organization and boosting the organization's international status during its SCO presidency.
For his part, Karimov hailed Hu's visit on the eve of an annual SCO summit as an important event in Uzbekistan-China relations and a milestone in the development of the friendly and cooperative partnership between the two countries.
The Uzbek president agreed with Hu on his comments on bilateral ties and his six-point proposal to further enhance bilateral relations, saying Hu's suggestion has charted the direction for future bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
The comprehensive friendly and cooperative relationship between Uzbekistan and China is based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, Karimov noted.
He said his country upholds the one China policy, backs China's positions on issues concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and supports the fight against the "three evil forces."
Recent years have witnessed rapid development of Uzbekistan-China relations, Karimov said, noting that the two neighbors have consolidated the legal basis for their bilateral ties and have achieved progress in trade and other areas of cooperation.
Meanwhile, as practical cooperative mechanisms between the two countries have been in place, the two governments have signed long-term trade agreements, and preferential loans from China have promoted bilateral cooperation, he added.
Noting that great potentials remain in bilateral trade and economic cooperation, the Uzbek leader expressed the hope that the two countries will optimize the structure of bilateral trade and expand cooperation in high and new technologies and other fields.
Uzbekistan and China both boast great ancient civilizations, and the historic Silk Road have linked the two peoples, he said. The two countries should expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges to deepen friendship between the two peoples, he added.
Karimov said his country highly appreciates China's important role in tackling the global financial crisis and in solving regional and international problems.
Uzbekistan is willing to work with China to further boost bilateral relations to benefit the two peoples and promote peace and development of Central Asia, said Karimov.
Following the meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of cooperation documents between the two countries. They also signed a joint statement on comprehensively deepening and developing friendly and cooperative partnership between China and Uzbekistan. After that, they met with the press.
This is Hu's second trip to the Central Asian state since he became China's head of state in 2003. In June 2004, he visited Uzbekistan and attended a SCO summit in Tashkent.
The Chinese leader will attend this year's SCO summit slated for Friday, following which he will pay a state visit to Kazakhstan.
Founded in 2001, the SCO consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran are observers of the organization.