Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here Friday that the two-way opening up between China and Uzbekistan with bilateral cooperation being expanded will create greater development opportunities for both sides to achieve mutual benefits and win-win outcomes.

Li made the remarks when he met with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Earlier on Friday, the Chinese Premier arrived here for the 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and an official visit to Uzbekistan.

During their meeting, Li first conveyed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s cordial greetings to Mirziyoyev.

Li said that since China and Uzbekistan established diplomatic relations, the two countries have respected and treated each other as equals and have been promoting healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.

With vigorous implementation of reform and opening up, Uzbekistan is experiencing booming economic and social development, Li said, adding that China will further deepen its reform and open wider to the outside world, and China is willing to strengthen exchanges and mutual learning with Uzbekistan.

A developing and prosperous Uzbekistan conforms to the common interests of China and regional countries, he said.

Noting that the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) pursues extensive consultation, joint construction and shared benefits, the Chinese premier pointed out that China is willing to better align the BRI with Uzbekistan’s development strategy.

China encourages more Chinese enterprises to invest and start business in Uzbekistan and welcomes Uzbek high-quality agricultural products to enter the Chinese market, Li said. China is willing to deepen cooperation with Uzbekistan in such fields as production capacity, energy, transportation and e-commerce, he added.

China appreciates Uzbekistan’s seven-day visa-free entry policy for Chinese citizens starting next year, said Li, noting that the two sides will also increase direct flights, which will be conducive to expanding bilateral people-to-people exchanges.

Li said China is ready to work with Uzbekistan to raise the level of security cooperation to create a favourable external environment for common development and regional stability.

For his part, Mirziyoyev welcomed Li for his official visit to Uzbekistan. He said Uzbekistan and China enjoy a long-lasting friendship, and the cooperation consensus reached by leaders of the two countries is bearing fruit.

Uzbekistan stands firm in upholding the one-China policy and is ready to maintain high-level exchanges with China to expand cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, production capacity and industry on the basis of mutual benefits and win-win cooperation, said Mirziyoyev.

He said Uzbekistan is pushing forward its reform and opening up, and is willing to learn from China’s experience. Mirziyoyev said Uzbekistan welcomes more Chinese citizens to tour the Central Asian country, and stands ready to continue to deepen bilateral cooperation on people-to-people and cultural exchanges.