Political dialogue The People's Republic of China recognized the independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan on December 27, 1991. The diplomatic relations were established on January 2, 1992. Friendly and mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation covers the whole complex of relations. The trustworthy relations, which were established between the Heads of the two countries, underlie this cooperation. Close or similar approaches on issues related to combating terrorism, extremism and separatism, drug and illegal arms trafficking and other security challenges contribute to the development of mutually beneficial cooperation between Uzbekistan and China. The Leaders of the two countries regularly exchange high level visits and meetings. President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov visited China in 1992, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2014. In 2001 and 2006 he visited Shanghai and in 2012 – to participate in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summits, and in August 2008 – Beijing to take part in the XXIX Olympic Games opening ceremony. The President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and the President of the PRC Xi Jinping held a bilateral meeting in Shanghai during the session of the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. Presidents of the People's Republic of China Jiang Zemin (1996), Hu Jintao (2004, 2010) and Xi Jinping (2013) paid state visits to Uzbekistan. During the state visit of the President Islam Karimov to PRC on April 19-20, 2011 the two sides have signed a significant set of agreements for cooperation on governmental and ministerial levels, including “On Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments”. It laid a solid foundation for further development of bilateral cooperation. As an important outcome of this visit, Uzbekistan and China had established an Intergovernmental Committee for Cooperation. The 1st session of the Committee held in Beijing in October 2011 and the 2nd session took place in Tashkent in October 2013. The Committee consists of 7 Subcommittees in various areas of cooperation. President Islam Karimov’s official visit to PRC on June 5-7, 2012 became a crucial stage in development of Uzbekistan-China relations. Leaders of two countries have signed the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of Strategic Partnership as well as 45 agreements and contracts worth $5.3 billion, raising the bilateral relations to a qualitatively new level. President Xi Jinping‘s state visit to Uzbekistan on September 8-10, 2013 became an important step in strengthening the bilateral relations. Treaty of Amity and Cooperation as well as Joint Declaration on the further development and deepening of strategic partnership have been signed by the Heads of States. Altogether, 31 agreements have been penned to implement a number of projects worth $15 billion. President Islam Karimov’s state visit to China on August 19-20, 2014 was an important milestone in the Uzbek-Chinese relations, which resulted the adoption by the two countries' leaders the Program of development of strategic partnership relations between the Republic of Uzbekistan and PRC for 2014-2018 . Premier of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang paid an official visit to Uzbekistan on November 28-29, 2013. During the visit, sides have signed 7 agreements for cooperation on ministerial level, strengthening investment and cultural ties. During the years 2004-2014, Uzbekistan and China held 12 rounds of political consultations on the level of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, discussing the issues of bilateral cooperation and interaction within the SCO. Economic ties Uzbekistan attaches high priority to further strengthening the strategic partnership with China, expanding multifaceted trade, economic, investment and financial cooperation between two countries based on the principles of mutual benefit, interests and equality. According to the Economic and Trade Agreement (1992) a Most Favored Nation Treatment was established between two countries. China is one of the leading trade partners for Uzbekistan. As per data of State statistics committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in 2014 trade turnover accounted for $4,75 billion, including export $2,36 billion, import – $2,39 billion. Investment partnership carried out within the framework of the Cooperation Program in the non-primary and high-tech fields, signed between the Governments of Uzbekistan and China in 2010. Today, both countries are actively expanding cooperation in various projects, primarily in the field of high technology, including the initiatives of the PRC leadership on the establishment of Uzbek-Chinese Industrial Park of High Technologies launched in 2011. In March 2013 the Park was established as a Free industrial zone "Jizak" with a branch in the Syrdarya region of Uzbekistan. A number of Chinese companies are actively involved in projects of exploration and development of hydrocarbon fields as well as deep processing of natural gas in the country. Uzbekistan supports the implementation of projects for the construction of the pipeline "Uzbekistan-China" and railway "China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan". Two countries are developing cooperation in the financial sector, in particular with the China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China. The number of joint ventures in Uzbekistan reached 540, including 80 companies with 100% Chinese investments. More than 73 Chinese companies opened their representative offices in Uzbekistan. Education, Culture and Tourism Cooperation in the field of education is growing rapidly, expanding exchanges of students and specialists. Since May 2005, Confucius Institute promotes the learning of Chinese language and culture in Tashkent. Current number of students is 350. More than 2,500 young people were educated since the establishment of the Institute. The Agreement on establishment of Confucius Institute in Samarkand was signed during President Xi Jinping‘s visit to Uzbekistan in September 2013. In 2014/2015, the PRC government provided educational grants for 120 Uzbek students and trainees on a bilateral agreement and within the SCO. Approximately 50 students from Uzbekistan have been studying at Lanzhou University through Confucius Institute. Since academic year 2012/2013, Beijing Foreign Studies University offers Uzbek language programs. Center of Uzbekistan Studies and Academic Exchanges as the first of its kind institution in China was opened on the basis of Public Diplomacy Institute of SCO at Shanghai University on May 15, 2013. The Program of cultural exchanges for 2014-2017 was adopted in November 2013. Friendship Societies “Uzbekistan-China” established in 1998 and “China-Central Asia” (2007) play a significant role in strengthening cultural ties between the two nations. In the sphere of tourism, an implementation of the process of providing to Uzbekistan a status as the country of tourist destination for Chinese group travelers has been started since 2010. During Premier Li Keqiang‘s visit to Tashkent in November 2013 the sides have signed an Agreement between Government of Uzbekistan and Government of China on cooperation in tourism. Sister city relations established between Tashkent and Shanghai, Navoi and Zhuzhou (Hunan Province), Samarkand and Xi'an (Shaanxi Province), Bukhara and Luoyang (Henan Province) as well as between Tashkent region and the province of Hunan, also Samarkand region and the province of Shaanxi.