Sino-Kazakh ties see deeper cooperation and substantial results

By Yang Jin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/7 20:38:39

Chinese President Xi Jinping embarks on a four-day journey to Kazakhstan Wednesday. At the invitation of his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev, Xi is scheduled to pay a state visit to the country and attend the 17th Meeting of Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The visit is of great significance and is expected to be productive as it is the first following the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation where Xi and Nazarbayev met on the sidelines to discuss future cooperation.

Both China and Kazakhstan are key neighbors to each other. Since Kazakhstan gained independence in 1991, its relationship with China has enjoyed healthy, consolidated development thanks to the strenuous efforts made by both governments. Their bilateral ties have gone through steady development from the establishment of diplomatic ties to the signing of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Both sides boast in-depth cooperation in politics, economy, security, culture and people-to-people exchanges. Mutual trust, benefit and cooperation on an equal footing among a variety of other principles have become the foundation of the development of Sino-Kazakh ties. Based on these principles, the two sides have made new breakthroughs with a multitude of substantial results.

For example, the Central Asia-China gas pipeline project has developed quite smoothly over all three phases, of which Sino-Kazakh oil and gas cooperation is a crucial part. Currently, Beijing and Astana are advancing and implementing 51 cooperation programs in energy, agriculture, transportation, communications, construction, manufacturing and infrastructure, involving an investment amount exceeding $26 billion.  

Nazarbayev is an old friend of the Chinese people. He has visited China more than 20 times and met with Xi at various occasions and established a friendly personal relationship with him, laying a solid foundation and creating a favorable environment for the healthy development of bilateral ties.

It has been noted that prior to Xi's trip, Kazakhstan's mainstream media outlets have published many commentaries expressing high anticipation for the further improvement of Sino-Kazakh ties leading to fruitful outcomes.

Kazakhstan is also an important supporter of, and participant in, China's Belt and Road initiative, which was envisioned by Xi during his visit to Kazakhstan back in September 2013. Once he put forward the concept, it was immediately met with positive responses.

The first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing last month, serving as a symbol that the initiative has not only garnered wide endorsement from the international community, but has also witnessed magnificent accomplishments over the past few years. For instance, the increasingly deepening collaboration between the Belt and Road initiative and Kazakhstan's new economic policy, the Bright Road, looks to be creating a promising future of win-win cooperation.

China and Kazakhstan also boast a high degree of strategic alignment in SCO development. As the SCO's founding members, both countries have delivered significant contribution to its development. They have actively coordinated positions and kept adding fresh elements to the arenas of security, economy, trade and culture, injecting new vigor into the growth of this important regional framework.

During his visit, Xi will also attend the 17th Meeting of Heads of State Council of the SCO. The meeting will be of great symbolic importance since the founding of the organization. At the summit, state leaders will continue discussing, negotiating and signing relevant accords on major issues concerning the further development of the SCO.

A highlight of the summit is that two new members - India and Pakistan - will join the organization, the first expansion in its history. In the future, the SCO is expected to absorb profound changes from the perspectives of geopolitics and international influence. It will therefore gain more attention from the international community.

In the present global landscape, where the international financial crisis has yet to come to an end while Western countries are mired in a daze regarding both internal and external affairs and are undergoing a stage of profound adjustment, China is showcasing an upward trend and presenting growing clout upon the rest of the world.

Xi's visit will bring new ideas and hopes for future cooperation. And it is expected that this trip will further consolidate the foundation of the China-Kazakhstan comprehensive strategic partnership and infuse new vitality into the SCO.

The author is deputy secretary general of the Center of Shanghai Cooperation Organization studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion


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