ASTANA – Chinese President China Xi Jinping and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev agreed during Xi’s May 7 visit to Kazakhstan to align development strategies, Xinhua News reported.
In 2013, Xi announced in a speech at Astana’s Nazarbayev University China’s New Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, which is meant to facilitate the integration of the economies of the old Silk Road.
“We are ready to align the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative to Kazakhstan’s new economic policy [Nurly Zhol], so as to achieve common development and prosperity on the basis of equality and reciprocity,” Xi said during talks with Nazarbayev, Xinhua reported. He also said that China and Kazakhstan should continue to develop cooperation in infrastructure, energy, finance, security, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Trade between China and Kazakhstan reached $17.2 billion in 2014, and in March the two countries signed 33 deals worth $23.6 billion on cooperation in industry, covering the energy, metals, automobile production and more.
Speaking with Xi, Nazarbayev noted that friendly relations with Kazakhstan’s eastern neighbour was a “priority” for Astana. “We have a plan, and we have outlined specific actions that will take Kazakh-Chinese relations to a new level,” he said.
In an April 27 press conference in Astana immediately following his reelection as president, Nazarbayev specifically linked his Nurly Zhol economic stimulus programme to China’s New Silk Road Economic belt, saying the two projects would be connected “in very interesting ways.” In the talks on May 7, he repeated this, saying Kazakhstan will work with China to build the new Silk Road and cooperate with China on trade, energy, technology and building industry.
China is currently the chair of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), and Xi noted that China values the position and will use it to work toward making CICA a useful platform for promoting consensus, unity and mutual trust among Asian countries, Xinhua reported. A year ago in Shanghai, China announced at CICA its concept for a new regional security architecture, an “Asian security partnership programme,” which would see dependence on bilateral military alliances reduced, and in which China would take a leading role. The CICA platform was first proposed by Nazarbayev in 1992.
Nazarbayev said that his country supports Xi’s efforts toward Asian unity, economic and otherwise, which he said was a natural result of historical trends as well as in the interests of individual countries, Xinhua reported. Kazakhstan is also ready to work with China within the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the newly launched multilateral development bank with the mission of supporting Asian infrastructure projects, he said.
Xi travelled to Moscow on May 9 for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, along with Nazarbayev and other regional leaders. Nazarbayev confirmed during talks with Xi that he would attend China’s WWII victory celebrations this September.