ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s strategic relations with China have always been defined by regular high-level dialogues, which develop their all-round bilateral cooperation. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Astana on August 19 enhanced this development. During his stay, Wang met Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Serik Akhmetov and Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov.
Cooperation across various fields was the main focus of the talks, which also addressed preparations for the forthcoming visit of China’s new president, Xi Jingpin, to Kazakhstan on September 6-8. This high-level visit will provide a special impetus to bilateral relations, according to both sides. Akhmetov noted that trade and economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and China is developing dynamically. The trade volume in 2012 amounted to $25 billion and the countries have an opportunity to bring it to $40 billion by 2015.
Among promising areas of cooperation, Akhmetov named oil and gas, energy, transport and transit. In this regard, he called for strengthening the Kazakhstan-Chinese Business Council.
Cooperation in the management of transboundary rivers is another important aspect of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Kazakhstan, Akhmetov said. He proposed starting a discussion about developing an intergovernmental agreement on water sharing.
Wang, in turn, said that China and Kazakhstan will find “a decent solution to this issue and transboundary rivers will become the bonds that will closely unite the two peoples.”
The meeting between Wang and Idrissov led to a constructive dialogue on Kazakh-Chinese cooperation and interaction within international institutions, as well as on regional and global security issues, the parties said at a press conference following the meeting.
According to Idrissov, Kazakhstan attaches great importance to China’s role in global politics and its significance as one of the drivers of the global economy, as well as its active position in dealing with international issues.
The two countries share the view that the continuation of consistent dialogue between the heads of government through regular meetings will serve as a primary platform for developing bilateral cooperation in strategic economic sectors of both countries.
During the two-hour meeting, the two ministers reached mutual understandings on all issues discussed, according to Wang.
“This is clear evidence of the high level of all-round strategic partnership between our two countries. This shows that the two ministers have already established a very good working relationship as well as a personal friendship,” the Chinese foreign minister said.
“This is my first visit to your country and in a short period of time I was able to witness that your country is ensuring the dynamic growth of its economy … and is continuously growing a strong international reputation. I saw with my own eyes the so-called speed of Kazakhstan,” he said.
“Together with our Kazakh counterparts, we will work hard to pass from generation to generation our common cause of friendship and cooperation between China and Kazakhstan,” he concluded.
According to Idrissov, another indicator of high political trust is the fact that the two sides adhere to a rational and balanced approach in the issues of using cross-border rivers, Idrissov said.
“The effective exchange of views on the issue of water sharing and joint water intake from small transboundary and border rivers demonstrates the willingness of the parties to continue to practice consistent regulation of this matter,” he added.
The two sides emphasised the importance of close cooperation within multilateral mechanisms, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which are beginning to play a more active role in security and stability issues in the region.
Given the importance of the upcoming visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping in early September 2013, the two ministers exchanged views on preparations for the event at the highest level.
In addition to the meeting of the presidents, the planned visit will include meetings with Kazakhstan’s prime minister and the speaker of the Mazhilis of the Parliament. In addition, the two countries plan to sign a number of bilateral documents, including a joint declaration on further deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership. This will demonstrate the commitment of both sides to good neighbourly, constructive and equitable relations, the two ministers said.