Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to Uzbekistan will help chart the future direction of the bilateral ties and add momentum to the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), said Chinese Ambassador to Uzbekistan Yu Hongjun, Xinhua reported.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, the ambassador said the visit will also help promote peace, stability and development in the region.
At the invitation of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, President Hu will pay a state visit to Uzbekistan and attend the annual SCO summit here in the Uzbek capital between June 9 and 11. The Chinese and Uzbek presidents are expected to discuss bilateral ties, the SCO's development as well as key international and regional issues.
Yu noted that since China and Uzbekistan established diplomatic ties, leaders of the two countries have had frequent exchanges of visits and maintained close contact on the development of the bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues. Sino-Uzbek relations have entered a new phase since leaders from both sides signed a treaty for friendly and cooperative partnership in 2005.
The ambassador said China appreciated the condolences Karimov sent to the victims of China's Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, as well as the 50 tons of aid supplies provided by his government to the quake zone.
He said presidents of the two countries met twice last year, and since the start of this year, the two countries have maintained close contact and exchanges of visits, with a number of senior Chinese leaders coming to Uzbekistan for visits or meetings, including State Councilor Meng Jianzhu, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Finance Minister Xie Xuren.
Yu said that Uzbekistan has firmly supported China over issues concerning China's core interests, and China on its part, has always supported Uzbekistan's efforts to safeguard its national sovereignty and independence as well as its stability and development.
On bilateral economic and trade cooperation, the ambassador said the two countries managed to register a year-on-year increase of 18.9 percent in their trade volume last year despite the global financial crisis. China has become Uzbekistan's second largest trade partner after Russia.
He attributed the hard-won growth to the visions and wise policies of the leaders of the two countries.
As SCO members, the two countries face the common tasks of safeguarding national sovereignty and security, and maintaining regional peace and stability. The two countries share similar positions on issues of fighting the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism. Senior security officials from both countries have maintained necessary contacts and conducted fruitful cooperation, Yu said.
With steady development of political, economic and energy cooperation between the two nations over recent years, Uzbek people are increasingly interested in China and the Chinese language. Nearly 2,000 Uzbek students are learning Chinese. The Confucius Institute in Tashkent has played an active role in promoting cultural exchanges since it was set up five years ago, he said.
The ambassador said he believes that President Hu's visit will enhance mutual political trust between the two nations and upgrade the bilateral ties.