Two years ago I paid a visit to Kazakhstan for the first time. This country impressed me with its magnificent landscapes, abundant resources and hospitable people.
China and Kazakhstan have maintained close cultural and humanitarian ties. Deep friendship between the peoples of our two countries was established from the earliest times during frequent contacts via the ancient Silk Road. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 24 years ago, our relationship has been developing steadily and considerable results in multilateral cooperation have been achieved. Chinese-Kazakh friendly relations, rooted in the distant past, are gaining new momentum and greater vitality.
Political cooperation is the cornerstone of Chinese-Kazakh friendship. The two sides maintain close ties at the highest level, provide committed support in matters related to the mutual key interests, while treating each other as sincere, friendly and reliable partners. China will continue to firmly support Kazakhstan in the protection of sovereignty, ensuring stability and economic development. We will also maintain close ties on issues of regional and international agenda and closely cooperate in multilateral formats, such as the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), in line with advocating common interests of both states and developing countries.
Trade and economic partnership is a driving force of the Chinese-Kazakh relations. Kazakhstan is the second largest trade partner and the main receiver of Chinese investments in Eurasia, while for Kazakhstan, China is the second largest trade partner and an important export market. China-Kazakh trade and economic cooperation has huge and untapped potential. In this regard, both countries should create a more favourable and free environment for trade and investments, strengthen cooperation in customs matters, in the field of inspections and quarantine, certification and accreditation, as well as actively develop trans-boundary electronic trade, optimize trade structures and facilitate stabilization and growth of trade turnover.
Cooperation on production capacity is one of the most exciting and important aspects of growth in trade and economic cooperation between our countries. As a result of common efforts, the framework intergovernmental agreement on strengthening cooperation in the field of industrialization and investments was signed, interagency working mechanism was formed and the Cooperation Fund on Production Capacities was established. In addition, the two sides are establishing an integrated partnership model that includes investments, production, sales and service.
The Chinese side is ready to work with Kazakhstan on the principles of openness, agreement, cooperation and mutual benefit in order to implement the Cooperation Plan on aligning the construction of the Economic Belt of the Silk Road with the Nurly Zhol New Economic Policy, as well as jointly promote the construction of the economic corridor of the New Trans-Eurasian Continental Bridge and the economic corridor China – Central Asia – Western Europe, in order to bring practical benefits to the people of our respective countries.
Cultural and humanitarian exchanges tie together the Chinese-Kazakh friendship. In recent years it has grown substantially – expanding cooperation in the fields of tourism, education, science and technology, culture, healthcare, sports, as well as youth development. Taskyn, the Chinese singer of Kazakh origin, has a lot of fans in Kazakhstan, who are passionately rooting for him on the Internet during singing contests. Kazakh folk song “Dudarai” has been performed during the Voice of China competition. On an annual basis, citizens from our nations make approximately 500,000 trips between our countries.
China will continue to allocate governmental scholarships and the SCO scholarships to Kazakh students. Brotherly relations between the two countries have been established between provinces, oblasts and cities, which has further enhanced interregional cooperation. China is preparing to participate in the Expo 2017 – Future Energy International Specialized Exhibition in Astana which will provide new opportunities for bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the fields of science, technology, exhibitions and tourism.
China and Kazakhstan are friendly neighbours and close partners. We are ready to make joint effort with our Kazakh friends to develop the Chinese-Kazakh relations to a new level.
The author is Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.