This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road project, a major international initiative put forward by the People’s Republic of China. In preparation for the 3rd High-Level International Summit, which is to be held in China and attended by leaders from more than 70 countries with a total population of 5 billion in Asia, Africa, and Europe, the Global Times daily newspaper interviewed a renowned Uzbekistani state and public figure, diplomat, and scientist Professor Saidmukhtar Saidkasimov.
The reporter asked Saidkasimov his impressions upon first hearing of the concept of “the Silk Road Economic Belt” (the “Belt”) and BRI in general, and what impact the BRI has had on Uzbekistan’s development over the last decade. Saidkasimov noted that the initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping 10 years ago had generated tremendous interest around the world, as it was not only a bold but also an unprecedented large-scale interregional project. He noted that the BRI was ultimately aimed at overcoming poverty, social disadvantages, and the enormous development gap in many countries, and that Uzbekistan was one of the first countries to highly appreciate and greatly support the BRI.
He went on to explain that over the last decade, Uzbekistan had greatly benefited from the BRI, as it had opened up broad prospects for the formation and development of an interconnected transportation infrastructure across the entire Eurasian continent. He also noted that Chinese investments in Uzbekistan’s economy had exceeded $10 billion, and that joint projects in industrial cooperation, infrastructure modernization, transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and the creation of joint industrial parks of high technologies with the participation of companies from both countries had been successfully implemented.
The reporter then asked Saidkasimov his expectations from President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s upcoming visit to China to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in October. Saidkasimov replied that the forum would be an important event, as it would most likely deal primarily with plans to further expand the transport capabilities of regional and global trade and economic cooperation, in which Uzbekistan is also interested. He added that President Mirziyoyev’s visit would make a new contribution to the stable and consistent development of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership and give a powerful impetus to the further expansion and deepening of Uzbek-Chinese cooperation.