SHANGHAI – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a state visit to China on May 19-20 in advance of the May 21 Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) focusing on strengthening stability and regional security.
On the first day of his visit to China, the Kazakh leader met with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping. Prior to the meeting, the two leaders inspected the guard of honour and listened to the anthems of the two countries played by the military orchestra and accompanied by numerous salvos by artillery guns. The two leaders were also welcomed by Chinese children with Kazakh and Chinese flags chanting the names of the countries.
During the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, transit and transport, as well as agriculture.
President Nazarbayev stressed that the key component of bilateral ties was economic cooperation. He noted the mutual plan to bring bilateral trade turnover up to $40 billion by 2016.
“Back in September 2013 while in Astana, you put forward an initiative to create a ‘Silk Road Economic Belt.’ Kazakhstan is ready to actively participate in the consideration of ways to implement this large-scale project. Implementation of this initiative will play an important role in the development of our region,” Nazarbayev said.
In his turn, Xi Jinping said mutual political trust and cooperation in various fields have reached an unprecedented level. Bilateral cooperation has a promising future as the two countries push forward their own development plans, he added.
The upcoming CICA summit was also on the agenda of the meeting. President Nazarbayev emphasised his great expectations for the Chinese chairmanship of CICA in 2014-2016. He expressed confidence in the transformation of the conference into an effective international organisation. In his turn, President Xi said CICA’s importance is increasing and various nations are paying more attention to Asian security as many leaders of countries and international organisations will attend the summit.
The CICA was initiated by President Nazarbayev in 1992 as a forum for dialogue and consultations and to promote confidence-building measures. It now includes 24 member countries and 13 observers.
The Chinese president also urged the two sides to enhance coordination in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to jointly safeguard regional security and stability.
“Kazakhstan and China have much common ground on major issues. Both sides stick to the principle that countries have the right to choose their own development path. Kazakhstan is committed to promoting a bilateral, comprehensive partnership and is looking forward to deepening pragmatic cooperation,” Nazarbayev said.
They also exchanged views on Central Asia, Afghanistan and other affairs.
They also remotely launched the construction of a joint logistics terminal project in Lianyungang City, a port city of east China’s Jiangsu Province.
Lianyungang is one of the 25 largest ports in the world with well-developed transport infrastructure. The cargo area allotted for the Kazakh-Chinese terminal is 21.6 hectares.
The terminal will process Kazakhstan’s transit cargo to South-East Asia, Australia and Canada, as well as cargo in the opposite direction. This will provide a full package of services for all modes of transport carriers in export-import and transit traffic.
As a result of the meeting, the two leaders adopteda joint declaration and witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements in different fields of interest.
The Development Bank of Kazakhstan and China’s Exim Bank also signed a memorandum to fund a$1 billion project to modernise the Shymkent oil refinery. The investments are expected to help enable the refinery to start producing environmentally friendly fuel and reach a capacity of 6 million tons of fuel per year.
The Development Bank of Kazakhstan and China Development Bank (CDB) signed a master agreement on a credit line of $500 million. The funds are to be used to financejoint projects outside the extraction sector.
The KazMunayGas National Oil Company and CNPC signed an agreement to build an oil and gas plant in the Almaty region to produce oil and gas pipes. The project is to be implemented in 2014-2016 and is expected to bring $150 million in investment.
After the meeting, Nazarbayev was awarded the Silk Road Peace Prize, a Chinese initiated prize to advocate the Silk Road spirit and commend organisations and people who have made great contributions to world peace, regional stability and national reconciliation.
State visits byRussian President Vladimir Putin, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to China were also held on the sidelines of the summit.
Prior to the summit, President Nazarbayev held a meeting with General Director of Tsinghua Corporation Xiu June as well as with other top managers of several Chinese companies. Tsinghua is China’s biggest private enterprise for coal mining, enrichment andcoking. Production capacities of the corporation, which employs more than 20,000 people, are located in several regions of China.
Malika Rustem contributed to this report from Astana.