"If you have a friend afar who knows your heart, distance cannot keep you two apart... Welcome, honored guests!"
Those were the words that greeted Central Asian leaders and their wives in the city of Xi'an. The two-day China-Central Asia Summit kicked off in the city on May 18.
As the eastern starting point of the ancient Silk Road, Xi'an, formerly known as Chang'an, has witnessed the interactions between China and Central Asia for thousands of years.
At present, the connections continue to flourish with convenient railways and roads, busy cross-border cargo freight, and enhanced people-to-people exchanges.
In 2022, trade between China and five Central Asian countries hit a record $70 billion, more than 100 times the amount being traded when diplomatic ties were established 31 years ago.
At the summit, China and Central Asian countries agreed to boost trade, expand energy cooperation, and deepen connectivity.
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