Kyrgyzstan appreciates China’s assistance in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the central Asian country, and seeks to deepen cooperation with China in the post-epidemic era, said Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek over the weekend.

As an old Chinese saying goes, a close neighbour is better than a distant relative, Jeenbekov said during a meeting with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Kyrgyzstan is a good neighbour and a friend of China, said the president. Kyrgyzstan is very grateful to the Chinese side for the help it offered at the most difficult moment in the fight against the epidemic, including providing material and technical assistance, sending medical experts and sharing experience.

He noted that the Kyrgyz side greatly admires the unity of the Chinese people in successfully overcoming the epidemic.

China is also leading the world in vaccine research and development, and will make new and important contributions to the fight against the epidemic, said Jeenbekov.

He reiterated that Kyrgyzstan highly appreciates the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind proposed by President Xi Jinping.

Kyrgyzstan firmly pursues the one-China policy, stands with China on all major issues concerning China’s core interests and will always be a firm friend of China, he noted.

Kyrgyzstan is willing to work with China to further promote the co-construction of Belt & Road, and to overcome the adverse effects caused by the epidemic on the economy

Said the Kyrgyz President.

He added that Kyrgyzstan seeks to expand the two countries’ pragmatic cooperation in investment, energy, transportation, agriculture and medicine, to explore new areas, such as electronic commerce and artificial intelligence, and to accelerate the construction of the railroad between China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

These will promote a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries to achieve greater development, said Jeenbekov.

In response, Wang said that solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons in the fight against the epidemic, and also the best interpretation to the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind proposed by President Xi.

We live in an interconnected world. We should help each other in times of difficulty, said Wang, adding that the Chinese government has launched the largest humanitarian operation since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, providing emergency supplies to more than 150 countries and international organizations, including Kyrgyzstan.

We believe that through solidarity and mutual assistance, mankind will be able to overcome the epidemic, said Wang. China is ready to continue providing support to the Kyrgyz side in fighting the epidemic, strengthen vaccine cooperation and stand with the Kyrgyz people.

Wang stressed that China appreciates Kyrgyzstan’s firm support on issues concerning China’s core interests and that China also supports Kyrgyzstan in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and national dignity.

China supports Kyrgyzstan for following a development path suited to its national conditions, and opposes any external forces interfering in Kyrgyzstan’s internal affairs, said Wang.

We are confident that under the leadership of President Jeenbekov, Kyrgyzstan will maintain political stability and social harmony, and continue to move forward along the road of modernization, he said.

China is ready to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with Kyrgyzstan in the post-epidemic era in accordance with the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, and to unveil a new chapter for the development of bilateral relations, said Wang.