Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will push China’s bilateral ties with the two Central Asian countries to a new level and will enhance mutual trust to better maintain regional stability against the backdrop of new changes on counter terrorism, analysts said.

Xi will visit Kyrgyzstan from Wednesday to Friday and Tajikistan from Friday to Sunday.

During his stays in the two countries, he will meet leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to “make the new plans for the future developments of the comprehensive strategic partnerships and to further cement political bases for bilateral ties,” Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said at a press briefing on Monday.

Leaders of these countries will also draw a new blueprint for the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and bring more benefits to the people to help with each country’s developments, Zhang said.

Ding Xiaoxing, director of the Eurasia Institute of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times that China has maintained comprehensive strategic partnerships with most Central Asian countries, a rare sight in other regions that showed the high degree of mutual trust between China and these countries.

Li Yongquan, dean of the school of international relations at the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that “Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are among the earliest supporters of the Belt and Road Initiative and they welcome cooperation with China.”

“Further enhancing the mutual trust with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan would improve future cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and the distance among the people from China and the two countries would also be shortened,” Li told the Global Times.

More than 300 Chinese companies have invested in Tajikistan in cement plants, chemical plants, electricity, textile mills and transportation, which helped the country to “realise independence in energy fields, ensure food safety, get rid of poor transportation and improve industrial development,” according to an article the People’s Daily published on Monday, written by the Chinese Ambassador to Tajikistan.

Ding noted Central Asian countries have an undeveloped economy.

“Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan each have their own economic development plans, which could be linked up to the initiative to further improve local industrial development and economic diversification,” he said.

Security Cooperation

During the visits, Xi will also attend the 19th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan and the fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, according to Vice Foreign Minister Zhang.

Leaders of SCO member states are expected to sign a declaration in Bishkek and they will also exchange views on regional issues and discuss measures to improve stability, Zhang said on Monday.

Ding noted the security situation in Central Asia is controllable but there are still hidden dangers.

“Tajikistan shares a long border with Afghanistan and changes in the situation of North Afghanistan affects security in Central Asia,” Ding said.

The UN Security Council released a statement in January to condemn terrorist attacks in the region after a series of incidents hit northern Afghanistan in December.

“Since China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region shares long borders with both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the region’s stability is closely related to the security situation in Central Asia. China has always wanted the region to develop stably,” Ding said.

Li Wei, a Beijing-based anti-terrorism expert, told the Global Times on Monday that SCO state members have made great achievements in fighting terrorism and in de-radicalization which should be learned by other regions.

“China’s anti-terrorism policies and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang have not only ensured local residents’ safety and interests but also made a contribution to regional stability,” Li said.

Li noted that some Western countries which failed to stop terrorist attacks should stop making groundless accusations against China’s Xinjiang policies.

Zhang said Monday that some politicians who slander China’s Xinjiang policies are “like zombies crawled out from the tombs of the Cold War” and they have “no moral bottom line” for “making lies.”

Zhang said Xinjiang has maintained stability and local residents enjoyed a happy life. The region received 150 million domestic and overseas visits last year.