China-Kazakhstan ties unaffected by online article amid joint fight against pandemic: Chinese envoy

By Deng Xiaoci Published: 2020/4/17 2:12:29

Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan Zhang Xiao Photo: Courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan

China and Kazakhstan are joining hands in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, and friendly relations between the two would not be affected at all by a minor episode caused by an online article by some we-media, the Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

The Chinese ambassador made the comments following an episode in which major Chinese social media networks and websites deleted a series of nationalist misleading articles which spread fake information online about China's neighboring countries and regions "eager to return to China."  One of these online articles reportedly suggested "Why Kazakhstan is eager to return to China?" 

The online article prompted Kazakhstan's foreign ministry to summon the Chinese ambassador on Tuesday to protest over the article, Reuters reported. 

Zhang Xiao, Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan, told the Global Times that he met with the Central Asian country's First Deputy Foreign Minister Shakhrat Nuryshev on Tuesday at the latter's request. 

"The two sides reached major agreements after fully exchanging views over the development of China-Kazakhstan relations in a talk conducted in a practical, friendly, and highly constructive atmosphere," Zhang said.

On his part, Nuryshev spoke highly of the large amount of humanitarian material aid China has sent to the country to assist its fight against COVID-19.

Also, on behalf of the Kazakhstani government, Nuryshev expressed gratitude to China's dispatching of a medical expert team to the country. He also believed that China demonstrated good-neighborly friendship and strategic cooperation between China and Kazakhstan through practical actions.

He especially pointed out that rapid testing kits China provided to the country enables Kazakhstan to quickly identify confirmed and suspected cases, and achieve early treatment and control of the epidemic.

During the meeting, Nuryshev mentioned  an article about Kazakhstan that recently emerged on a Chinese website, content of which was not in line with historical facts, nor  with the high level of bilateral relations between the two countries. The Kazakhstani diplomat hoped the Chinese side could take measures to eliminate negative influence brought about by the article, so as to avoid it being used by people with ulterior motives and solidify a good atmosphere for public opinion regarding a permanent comprehensive strategic partnership.

China and Kazakhstan have been firmly supporting each other in battling the pandemic, which fully demonstrates true brotherhood in the time of adversity, Zhang said during the meeting.

Commenting on the controversial article, Zhang underscored that it does not represent the Chinese government's stance over the matter, and it works opposite to constructively pushing forward the development of relations between the two countries and enhancing mutual trust.

Zhang vowed to forward the request from the Kazakhstani side to relevant departments in China.   

Zhang told the Global Times that it was a normal and routine diplomatic meeting, and it took place in a relaxed and friendly fashion.

"I noticed some media outlets have used exaggerated vocabulary to hype up the event, which is entirely groundless," he said. 

Some Western media have hyped up Zhang's meeting with the Kazakhstani foreign ministry official as a "protest" event staged by the Kazakhstani side.

"It is clear from any experienced diplomat, protesting is only proper when relations between two countries have witnessed a major crisis, and when one side has severely harmed the other's major interests."

"Currently, China and Kazakhstan are fighting the pandemic shoulder to shoulder. In China, from the central government to local governments, from companies to individuals, we are all going all out to help Kazakhstan, and we sincerely wish Kazakhstan could soon rein in the epidemic."

China has sent the largest amount of aid, moving swiftly to assist Kazakhstan in its epidemic fight, and Kazakhstan is the first Commonwealth of Independent States member that China has sent a medical expert team to, Zhang stressed.

"On what grounds can anyone say the two countries are experiencing a diplomatic crisis, and one is harming the other's major interest?"

The incident counts only as a trivial episode and would not affect China-Kazakhstan relations at all, Zhang noted.

Zhang also revealed that he advised during the meeting that the two sides should both attach great importance to the content of history books, as to educate teenagers from both countries the correct historic view, in order to ensure the continuing friendship between the two countries can pass down from generation to generation.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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