TASHKENT, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Sunday evening for a state visit to Uzbekistan aimed at further boosting bilateral relations and cooperation.

In a written speech delivered upon his arrival, Xi lauded the time-honored friendship between China and Uzbekistan, saying the Silk Road has linked the two peoples together since more than 2,000 years ago.

Since establishing diplomatic relations 21 years ago, the two countries have witnessed all-round and rapid development of bilateral ties, Xi said, adding that history has proved that it is a right strategic choice for them to pursue everlasting friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Xi said he is looking forward to exchanging views with President Islam Karimov on bilateral relations and cooperation as well as other global and regional issues of common concern.

“I am confident that this visit will be successful and inject fresh vigor into the development of the China-Uzbekistan strategic partnership,” Xi said.

Xi flew to the Uzbek capital after wrapping up a state visit to Kazakhstan. Earlier in his ongoing overseas trip, he visited Turkmenistan and attended a Group of 20 summit in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.

After Uzbekistan, the Chinese president is to pay a state visit to Kyrgyzstan, where he will also attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.