This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the five Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired a virtual summit commemorating the 30th anniversary in Beijing on Tuesday, setting deeper relations between China and the Central Asian countries.
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Beijing, China’s sprawling capital, has history stretching back 3 millennia. Yet it’s known as much for modern architecture as its ancient sites such as the grand Forbidden City complex, the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
China is the third largest country in the world by area and the largest country in the world by population. Properly known as the People’s Republic of China, the political territory of the country includes Tibet and Hong Kong. The capital is Beijing.
Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country mainly located in Central Asia with a smaller portion west of the Ural River in Eastern Europe.
Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country. It has a population of 18.3 million residents, and has one of the lowest population densities in the world. Since 1997, the capital is Nur-Sultan, formerly known as Astana. It was moved from Almaty, the country’s largest city.
Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Kazakhstan is the most dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region’s GDP, primarily through its oil and gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources. Kazakhstan is a member of the United Nations (UN), WTO, CIS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasian Economic Union, CSTO, OSCE, OIC, CCTS, and TURKSOY.
Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kirghizia, is a landlocked country in Central Asia. It is bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan’s history spans a variety of cultures and empires.
Tajikistan is a country in Central Asia surrounded by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It’s known for rugged mountains, popular for hiking and climbing. The Fann Mountains, near the national capital Dushanbe, have snow-capped peaks that rise over 5,000 meters. The range encompasses the Iskanderkulsky Nature Refuge, a notable bird habitat named for Iskanderkul, a turquoise lake formed by glaciers.
Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia bordered by the Caspian Sea and largely covered by the Karakum Desert. It’s known for archaeological ruins including those at Nisa and Merv, major stops along the ancient trade route the Silk Road. Ashgabat, the capital, was rebuilt in Soviet style in the mid-20th century and is filled with grand monuments honoring former president Saparmurat Niyazov.
Uzbekistan is a Central Asian nation and former Soviet republic. It’s known for its mosques, mausoleums and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Samarkand, a major city on the route, contains a landmark of Islamic architecture: the Registan, a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, mosaic-covered religious schools dating to the 15th and 17th centuries.