China also has sought to develop relations with Central Asia. This was highlighted in May 1994, by the visit of the Chinese premier, Li Peng, to Tashkent. Since 1991 China has become the second largest trading partner in Central Asia after Russia. During Li Peng's visit, Uzbekistan and China signed four agreements designed to increase trade, including the granting of a Chinese loan to Uzbekistan, the establishment of air freight transport between the two countries, and the Chinese purchase of Uzbekistani cotton and metals. The two countries also agreed to settle all territorial disputes through negotiation, and they found common territory in their desire to reform their economies without relinquishing strict political control. At the same time, however, policy makers in Uzbekistan also view China as one of Uzbekistan's chief potential threats, requiring the same kind of balanced approach as that adopted toward Russia. Indeed, despite the large volume of trade between China and Central Asia, China is lowest on the list of desired trading partners and international donors among Uzbekistan's population. In a 1993 survey, only about 3 percent of respondents believed that China is a desirable source of foreign financial assistance.
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