Kazakh FM Visits China, Discusses Relations

FmKazakhstan Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov met with China Deputy Prime Minister Li Yuanchao, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and officials from the China Institute of International Studies during his March 19-20 official visit to China.

Idrissov visited on the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The visit is significant as it comes on the threshold of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s state visit to China and his participation at the upcoming 4th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) this May.

The sides discussed bilateral political, trade-economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation, as well as collaboration within regional and international organisations, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and CICA.

The officials noted the importance of regular political dialogue at the highest level in deepening the Kazakh-Chinese strategic partnership. In less than one year, President Nazarbayev and China President Xi Jinping have held five meetings. The Kazakh President’s upcoming state visit to China is expected to expand cooperation further.

Since Kazakhstan seeks closer economic and trade cooperation, as well as more investment from China, Idrissov expressed interest in more intensive collaboration in industries that are highly developed in China, such as mining and coal, mechanical engineering, chemicals, electronics and consumer goods production.

“There is a huge potential for expanding economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and China, especially in the development of high and new technologies,” Idrissov said.

The focus of talks between Idrissov and his Chinese counterpart was the organization of the upcoming state visit of President Nazarbayev to China and his participation at the CICA Summit in Shanghai.

During the summit, scheduled for May 20-21, China will take over the chairmanship of CICA from Turkey. The Kazakh Foreign Minister said he believes China’s chairmanship will strengthen and develop the organisation.

Both officials also mentioned close cooperation between the two countries within the SCO, which is an important component of Kazakh-Chinese relations.

“As strategic partners, we are ready to jointly maintain ties to protect our common interests, ensure peace and stability in the region,” Wang Yi said.

The parties also praised cultural relations between the countries. In April 2013, Kazakh Cinema Week was held for the first time in China. Last November also saw large-scale celebration of Days of Kazakh Culture with concerts in Beijing, Shanghai and Urumqi. Minister Idrissov noted Days of Chinese Culture in Kazakhstan are scheduled for this year.

The Kazakh Minister invited Chinese officials to participate in the Second World Anti-Crisis Conference on May 21-22 in Astana, as well as to encourage the Chinese companies to participate in the specialised exhibition EXPO 2017.

Following the talks, the parties signed a memorandum of cooperation for 2014-2016 to strengthen the strategic partnership between the countries.

As part of his speech at the China Institute of International Studies, Idrissov elaborated on the basic provisions of the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy and the Foreign Policy Concept of Kazakhstan for 2014-2020. The Kazakh diplomat noted that the long-term strategy is a significant factor in bringing Kazakhstan and China together.

He also took part in the opening ceremony of the monument to poet and philosopher Abai Kunanbayev created by renowned Chinese sculptor Yuan Xikun and installed in central Beijing’s Chaoyang Park.

China is among the top 20 countries in terms of foreign direct investment in Kazakhstan with $10.3 billion invested since 2005. The total share of projects involving Chinese investment is more than $17 billion. China is also one of Kazakhstan’s main trading partners with turnover of more than $75 billion in the past three years.

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