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Friendship envoys strengthen China-Central Asia ties

Source:Xinhua Published:2024-06-09 21:57

Tang Yunpeng, a teacher at the Collaborative Research Center for Archaeology of the Silk Roads at Northwest University in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, was interacting with an international student at an archaeological excavation site in Uzbekistan via WeChat, discussing ongoing work and any recent discoveries.

Tang is part of a China-Uzbekistan joint archaeological project. Since 2009, Northwest University's Central Asian archaeology team has carried out over 70 joint archaeological tasks with Central Asian countries, providing data and scientific evidence for the ancient Silk Road.

"We have a driver named Navbatov Jasur in Uzbekistan who has worked with us since the start of the project," Tang said. "Jasur is not only our colleague, but also our 'comrade-in-arms.' In 2017, he celebrated his third consecutive birthday at the site, which was during the most intensive period of our archaeological excavations. We picked flowers and prepared a cake to celebrate his birthday."

"From knowing nothing about archaeology to taking the initiative to help us with a pickax, his Chinese proficiency has also improved. He can even quote Confucius's famous saying, 'It is such a delight to have friends coming from afar,' and has learned to sing popular Chinese songs, which has added a lot of fun to our intense work," Tang said.

Liu Zhe, a professor at the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern Polytechnical University, is also a witness to the friendship between China and Central Asian countries. He was among the first batch of teachers sent to teach at the university's Kazakhstan branch for 10 days in April this year.

The university's Kazakhstan branch, jointly established by Northwestern Polytechnical University and Kazakhstan's Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, was officially inaugurated on Oct. 12, 2023. It is a result of the educational exchanges between the two sides and a reflection of the deepening cultural and people-to-people cooperation between China and Central Asian countries.

Liu has integrated artificial intelligence technology into the materials computing course. "I was touched by the students' eagerness for cutting-edge knowledge. This innovative research method was refreshing to them, prompting them to take the initiative in learning programming skills and completing their tasks," Liu said, adding that even after returning to China, he has maintained communication with the students and continues to conduct regular discussions on various topics.

Some local teachers even inquired about the possibility of coming to China for an exchange period, Liu said, noting that the exchange is mutual and both sides have greatly benefited and been inspired.

"While teaching, we are also learning and experiencing foreign cultures and educational concepts. This exchange allows us to complement each other's strengths in educational practices, achieving a win-win situation," he said.

One year ago, the first China-Central Asia Summit in Xi'an set a new platform for good neighborliness and win-win cooperation between China and five Central Asian countries, namely, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Statistics show that in 2023, the total import and export volume between Shaanxi and five Central Asian countries reached 5.79 billion yuan (about 799 million U.S. dollars), up 178 percent year on year. From January to April this year, this import and export volume totaled 3.2 billion yuan, marking a 205.6 percent increase year on year.

Sahedov Begench from Turkmenistan currently runs two companies in Xi'an. "We hope to introduce more high-quality products from China to Turkmenistan and bring the specialties from our hometown to the Chinese market," he said.

"We import electronic equipment and agricultural processing machinery from China, which are urgently needed in our market," he added.

According to Begench, the China-Europe freight train is an important transportation lifeline that greatly reduces transportation time and costs while significantly improving efficiency.

"I hope that through my efforts, I can contribute to the exchanges between the business and cultural communities of Turkmenistan and China. I'm very lucky to be able to study and work in China. This personal experience makes me firmly believe that in-depth and close exchanges are of great value to both countries," he said.

Editor:Zhou Jinmiao