Feature: Xi awards Friendship Medal to Tajikistan's Rahmon, testimony to strengthened bond

By Xinhua writers Shi Xiaomeng, Han Liang, Liu Kai (Xinhua) 14:54, July 06, 2024

DUSHANBE, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Amid prolonged applause, Chinese President Xi Jinping personally awarded the prestigious "Friendship Medal" to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon here on Friday. The two leaders then shared a firm and warm handshake.

A grand medal-awarding ceremony, filled with an electric atmosphere, was held at the Palace of the Nation in Dushanbe during Xi's state visit to Tajikistan.

This medal, Xi said, represents President Rahmon's exceptional contributions to the development of China-Tajikistan relations and reflects the sincere hopes of people from all walks of life in both countries for a bright future.

President Rahmon, a senior leader and statesman in Eurasia, is the founder and promoter of China-Tajikistan relations, Xi commented.

The Friendship Medal is China's highest state honor for foreigners, awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to China's modernization, promoted international exchange and cooperation, and safeguarded world peace.

Friday's ceremony, honoring Rahmon, marks the first time this prestigious award has been presented outside of China. It is a special arrangement made to express the friendly sentiments of the Chinese people towards President Rahmon and the people of Tajikistan, according to Xi.

"I am ready to work with President Rahmon to uphold good-neighborliness and friendship, pursue mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, and jointly lead China-Tajikistan relations to new heights, delivering more benefits to both nations and their peoples," Xi said.

Featuring the primary colors of gold and blue, the medal incorporates elements including a peace dove, the Earth, a handshake, and a lotus. The design symbolizes the enduring friendship and solidarity between the Chinese people and people worldwide, as well as the aspiration for common prosperity and global development.

Upon receiving the medal, Rahmon thanked Xi for awarding him China's highest state honor. This honor is a recognition and affirmation of all Tajik people's determination to develop the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Tajikistan and China, he said.

China is Tajikistan's great neighbor and reliable partner, Rahmon said. "President Xi is a great leader with profound historical insights and a broad global vision in today's world. Many global initiatives proposed by President Xi are conducive to promoting human peace and progress."

Tajikistan will continue to steadfastly commit to building a community with a shared future with China, Rahmon said.

Five years ago in 2019, also at the Palace of the Nation in Dushanbe, Xi received the Order of the Crown from Rahmon during his visit to Tajikistan. In the Tajik language, the word "Taj" means "crown."

During that ceremony, Rahmon draped the sash over Xi's shoulder and bestowed his nation's highest decoration upon him. Xi highly values the decoration, and said the Order of the Crown embodies the profound friendship the people of Tajikistan have kept with the people of China.

From the Order of the Crown to the Friendship Medal, the exchange of their highest state honor reflects the deep appreciation of the two heads of state for the enduring friendship between China and Tajikistan, and their commitment to upholding this brotherhood for future generations, said Yang Bo, a professor of the School of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Shanghai International Studies University.

During Xi's state visit this time, China and Tajikistan decided to elevate their ties to comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in the new era. The decision was based on the current development needs of bilateral ties, the two countries said in a joint statement on Friday after Xi held talks with Rahmon.

During their talks, Xi told Rahmon that no matter how the international landscape changes, China will always be a trustworthy friend, a reliable partner and a close brother of Tajikistan.

Bilateral relations have maintained a healthy and stable momentum under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, said Musharrafa Sharipova, former vice chairperson of the Tajik Society for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.

Sharipova told Xinhua: "In my view, the reason our countries have maintained close and friendly relations is that, as good neighbors and partners, we have always adhered to principles of mutual respect, mutual assistance and mutual benefit." Enditem

(Xinhua reporters Peng Peigen in Dushanbe, Shu Chang, Zhao Bochao and Liu Yang in Beijing also contributed to the story.)

(Web editor: Chang Sha, Liang Jun)


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