SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Wednesday evening to pay a state visit to Uzbekistan and attend the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
At the airport, he was warmly greeted by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov, Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov, Governor of Samarkand region Erkinjon Turdimov and other high-level officials.
Mirziyoyev held a grand welcoming ceremony for Xi at the airport. Nearly a hundred national flags of China and Uzbekistan were waving in the breeze. The hundred-meter-long carpet was flanked by valiant honor guards. The two presidents stepped onto the reviewing stand adorned to reflect distinctive Uzbek features. A fanfare was played on Karnay, a traditional Uzbek long wind instrument, as a signal of welcome. Local young people, dressed in festive national costumes, were singing and dancing to the most invigorating beat to welcome the most honorable guest.
In a written speech, Xi extended warm greetings and best wishes to the government and people of Uzbekistan on behalf of the government and people of China. Xi underscored that spanning over two thousand years, the friendship between China and Uzbekistan and their people is still brimming with vigor and vitality.
The China-Uzbekistan comprehensive strategic partnership has steered onto the fast track of development, not only benefiting people of the two countries, but also giving a strong boost to peace, stability, prosperity and development of the region, said Xi.
He noted that he will hold talks with Mirziyoyev for an in-depth exchange of views on deepening bilateral cooperation, and on regional and international issues of shared interest, and jointly draw the blueprint for the development of China-Uzbekistan relations. He looks forward to attending the SCO Samarkand Summit, and working with all parties to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and promote the sound and steady development of the SCO.
Accompanied by Mirziyoyev, Xi walked through the VIP lounge at the airport where the digital screen displayed a giant photo of Xi with the words "Warmly Welcome President of the People's Republic of China H.E. Xi Jinping to Pay State Visit to Uzbekistan" in both Chinese and Uzbek.
Xi said goodbye to Mirziyoyev before leaving in the convoy. The two presidents reaffirmed the scheduled official talks Thursday and agreed to have an in-depth exchange of views on deepening China-Uzbekistan friendship.
Ding Xuexiang, Yang Jiechi, Wang Yi, He Lifeng and other members of the entourage arrived by the same flight.
Chinese Ambassador to Uzbekistan Jiang Yan also greeted Xi at the airport.