Kazakhstan will emerge more resilient from dark hour: FM
China welcomes Tokayev to attend opening of Olympics, sign of confidence
Published: Jan 11, 2022 01:15 AM
People lay flowers in front of the Kazakhstan's Embassy in Moscow on January 10, 2022. Nearly 8,000 people have been detained in Kazakhstan after days of unrest in the Central Asian country. The energy-rich nation of 19 million people has been rocked by a week of upheaval. Photo: VCG
People lay flowers in front of the Kazakhstan's Embassy in Moscow on January 10, 2022. Nearly 8,000 people have been detained in Kazakhstan after days of unrest in the Central Asian country. The energy-rich nation of 19 million people has been rocked by a week of upheaval. Photo: VCG

 Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pledged China's firm support to Kazakhstan in ending violence in the country and safeguarding security, during a phone call on Monday with Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi. 

Wang also stressed China's willingness to jointly oppose interference and infiltration by any external forces. "After the storm comes the rainbow. We are convinced that under the strong leadership of President Tokayev, peace and stability will be fully restored and Kazakhstan will emerge even more resilient and stronger from this dark hour," Wang said.

Observers said China's crucial role in maintaining regional peace and stability has been highlighted in dealing with the political turmoil in Kazakhstan, reflected in Kazakhstan's full trust in China and appreciation for China's practical support.

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev claimed on Monday that the recent violent demonstrations were an "attempted coup d'état" by "armed fighters." He said the action had been coordinated by a "single center," but did not name those responsible, BBC News reported. The president's comments came during a virtual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other allied heads of state.

There was widespread speculation that the US was behind the violence and pulled the strings, though White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refuted the accusations on January 5, calling rumors to the contrary "crazy Russian claims."  

The phone call between the foreign ministers and the Tokayev's remarks revealed a highly likely color revolution and infiltration of external forces behind the coup, Yang Jin, an associate research fellow on Central Asia research, told the Global Times. Western NGOs have been working in Central Asia for many years, which is "a time bomb." They not only infiltrate in locals with Western ideological values, but also sow discord and agitate anti-government, anti-China and anti-Russia sentiments by holding various activities and publishing articles, said Yang.

Some terrorist and separatist forces have long existed in Central Asia, not only from the Middle East and Afghanistan, but also indigenous terrorist forces. They use popular demands to inflame emotions and thereby create riots to subvert the regime, said experts.

Kazakh authorities on Monday for the first time linked the violent protest to Islamist extremist groups, saying that preliminary data shows the attackers include individuals who have military combat zone experience in the ranks of radical Islamist groups, local media reported. 

In the call with Tileuberdi, Wang stressed China will ensure the safety and smooth operation of major China-Kazakhstan projects.

Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that peaceful protests were hijacked by terrorist, extremist and criminal groups to escalate tensions and violence, and Kazakhstan has been subjected to armed aggression by well-coordinated terrorist groups trained abroad.  

The infiltration of external forces was also aimed at stirring up the security situation in Kazakhstan's neighborhood, which is why China and Russia are highly concerned about this matter, Yang explained. "The three countries are interconnected politically, economically and culturally. For example, they are all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and along the lines of China Railway Express."

"China cooperated with Kazakhstan in oil and gas even earlier than with Russia, which reflected the great importance of the strategic partnership between the two countries," he said.

Wang reiterated that China, as a permanent comprehensive strategic partner of Kazakhstan, will help maintain stability and end violence at this critical moment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday sent a verbal message to Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev over the recent large-scale riots in Kazakhstan.

China, Xi said, strongly rejects any attempt by external forces to provoke unrest and instigate a "color revolution" in Kazakhstan, as well as any attempt to harm the friendship between China and Kazakhstan and disrupt the two countries' cooperation. China is ready to provide necessary support to help Kazakhstan overcome the difficulties, Xi said.

Tileuberdi thanked President Xi for his important message to President Tokayev at the critical moment of Kazakhstan and the lead he took in expressing support to President Tokayev and the Kazakh people. 

On the day of national mourning in Kazakhstan on Monday, the message from the Chinese Foreign Minister once again demonstrates China's firm support and brotherly friendship with Kazakhstan, Tileuberdi said in the call.

Wang's remarks not just show China's support to Kazakhstan, but also send a message to Central Asian countries who share similar concerns with Kazakhstan, and a warning to foreign forces trying to undermine regional stability and spread color revolutions, as he stressed that China will strengthen cooperation with Kazakhstan in the field of law enforcement and security, and boost anti-interference bilateral cooperation, said Yang.

"Another key point is that China needs to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and interests in Kazakhstan, and we believe the Kazakh government will treat this demand seriously," Yang noted, stressing that Russia is the major power that can offer help to Kazakhstan to overcome turmoil by force, but China is the one that can effectively help it to realize sustainable development and successful reform, to fundamentally solve the problem that could cause another internal unrest in the future.

The number of people arrested by security forces during the violent anti-government protests in Kazakhstan has reached 7,939, the Interior Ministry of Kazakhstan announced on Monday, including the country's former intelligence chief, during last week's violence, marking the worst unrest the former Soviet nation has faced since gaining independence 30 years ago.

Government buildings across several local regions in Kazakhstan were set on fire and stormed last week as initially peaceful protests against fuel price increases became violent in the country.

The National Security Committee said on Monday that the situation had stabilized and that security forces had restored order, local media reported.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has deployed a peacekeeping force to deescalate the situation, and they will leave the country as soon as the situation stabilizes at the first request of Kazakhstan, according to Kazakhstan authority.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang told the Kazakh foreign minister that China welcomes President Tokayev to China for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and will ensure his trip is safe, smooth and successful. 

Tileuberdi said that the Beijing Winter Olympic Games is a grand event with international influence and important symbolic significance, adding that the Games will promote world peace and cooperation and enhance mutual understanding among peoples of all countries. Kazakhstan will work with China to make relevant preparations.

Normally, after a massive internal unrest, the top leader of the country won't have any foreign visit in the short term as he needs to ensure the stability and to prevent riots from happening again. But Tokayev's planned trip to Beijing remains unchanged. This proves that Kazakhstan values its ties with China, and Tokayev's government is confident it can restore peace and stability soon with the help of China and Russia, Yang said.