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Wednesday, July 05, 2000, updated at 15:01(GMT+8)

Lofty Plateau Continues to Bear Witness

Shaking hands, voicing welcome, presenting bouquets, and playing national anthems of China and Tajikistanˇ­.

At around 7:00 on the evening of July 3, at the airport of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, Chinese President Jiang Zemin began here his official state visit to our friendly neighbor Tajikistan. This is the first state visit paid by the head of state of China to Tajikistan since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Tajikistan on January 4, 1992.

The boundless plateau that spans the more than 4,000 km-long boundary line between the two countries of China and Tajikistan cannot cut off the neighborly friendship between the people of the two countries, that is deeper than kinship. Whether from the expressions of the eyes of Tajik girls wearing splendid national attire and holding bouquets in their hands, from the welcoming slogan banners hung up over the streets of Dushanbe, or in the atmosphere prevailing the cordial and frank talks conducted between Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov as between old friends, President Jiang and his retinue all deeply felt the profound feeling cherished by Tajik people for the Chinese people.

Eight years have passed since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Tajikistan. The snow-covered plateau which looks down at the tremendous changes that have taken place on the lands of the two countries is the best historical witness of the good neighborliness and friendship between the two countries of China and Tajikistan.

The towering plateau can give evidence: the high mountains cannot obstruct the friendly contacts between the peoples of China and Tajikistan, the friendship between the two peoples goes back to ancient times. Dushanbe, the beautiful capital city of Tajikistan, is the place which, historically, the famous "Silk Road" must run through and was one of the important centers for trade between the East and the West. Friendly envoys like Zhang Qian, Fa Xian, and Xuan Zhuang of ancient China all had passed by this place. As far back as the second century BC when Zhang Qian of China's Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24) was sent to the Western Region on a diplomatic mission, he had come to the place, present-day Tajikistan from which he brought back lucerne, grape, walnut and other products. Later, when Chinese silkworm-raising and silk-weaving technique spread to Tajikistan, it promoted the development of the local economy.

In recent years, leaders of China and Tajikistan have made constant mutual visits and conducted frequent contacts, under the joint cultivation of both sides, the tree of Sino-Tajik friendship has deep roots and luxuriant leaves and has produced countless rich fruits. In March 1993, Tajikistan Supreme Soviet Chairman Rakhmonov (now president) visited China. In July the same year, Tomur Dawamat, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of National People's Congress of China (NPC), led the Chinese NPC delegation to visit Tajikistan. In June 1994, the First Vice-President Dostiev of the Tajikistan Supreme Soviet also led a delegation to come to China on a friendly visit. In April 1996, President Rakhmonov of Tajikistan went to Shanghai to attend the summit meeting of the five countries of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (hereinafter referred to as the "Shanghai five" and held meeting with President Jiang Zemin. In September, President Rakhmonov successfully realized his second official visit to China since he assumed office. In 1997, President Rakhmonov attended the signing ceremony of the Agreement on Mutual Reduction of Arms and Military Forces held in Moscow among China, Russia, Kazkhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and had a meeting with President Jiang Zemin. In January1998, the Tajik National Defense Minister Sherali Khayrulloyev visited China. In July, Tajik president participated in the meeting of the "Shanghai five" held in Alma-Ata, and once again held separate talks with President Jiang Zemin. In August 1999, Tajik President Rakhmonov paid another visit to China, such frequent contacts have deepened the close ties between China and Tajikistan.

Tajikistan is a true and reliable friend of China. On the question of combating national separationism, Tajikistan sticks to its stand of not allowing anyone to make use of its territory to engage in the activities of splitting its friendly neighbor. On the Taiwan issue, Tajikistan persists in pursuing a one-China policy, thinking that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. The two countries have an extensive common view on international issues, both sides unanimously maintain that no country has the right to interfere, under any pretext, in the internal affair of other sovereign states, still less can it make use of so-called theories "human rights overweighing sovereignty" and "humanitarian intervention" to harm state sovereignty and independence. In the meeting with Tajik leaders, President Jiang spoke highly of President Rakhmonov's upholding of the national conciliatory policy and fully affirmed the great contributions made by President Rakhmonov to Sino-Tajik friendship and extended, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, heartfelt thanks to the friendly neighbor for its support of China.

"Getting close to the benevolent and getting on well with neighbors" is the traditional virtue of the Chinese nation. In the book Zuozhuan, a famous historical and literary work of the Warring States Period (475 BC-221 BC), there were already expositions on the phrase "getting close to the benevolent and getting on well with neighbors". In recent years, President Jiang Zemin has repeatedly reaffirmed that the good neighborly and friendly cooperative policy in China's diplomacy is not an expedient measure, it complies with the requirements of the times, it is an inevitable choice made out of the consideration of the long-term interests of China and of the people of various neighboring countries, This policy will not change even when China becomes prosperous in the future.

China and Tajikistan serve as an example of good neighbors and friends in today's world. The two countries are separated by a mountain. Although their social systems are different, and there is vast difference in the areas of their territories and great disparity in the size of population, their long-standing friendship has withstood the tests of time. The Sino-Tajik neighborly and friendly relations established on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, like the highest communist peak within Tajikistan, are braving wind and snow, never waver.

The beautiful scenery of the "high mountain country", the simple and unsophisticated feeling of the people as well as the warm feeling of Tajikistan for the Chinese people have been deeply engraved in the memory of President Jiang Zemin. "China will forever be Tajikistan's good neighbor and good friend", this is the remark made by President Jiang at the banquet held in his honor on July 4 by President Rakhmonov.

The towering plateau will continue to bear witnessˇ­.

This is a report written by Our Staff Reporters Tang Yong and Sun Yongjun about President Jiang's official state visit to Tajikistan.

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Eight years have passed since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Tajikistan. The snow-covered plateau which looks down at the tremendous changes that have taken place on the lands of the two countries is the best historical witness of the good neighborliness and friendship between the two countries of China and Tajikistan.

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