President Tokayev Emphasizes Xinjiang’s Role in Bolstering Kazakhstan-China Relations

ASTANA— President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized the strategic significance of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in deepening Kazakhstan’s multifaceted ties with China during a meeting with Erkin Tuniyaz, deputy secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xinjiang Committee and XUAR chairman, on March 26 in Astana, reported the Akorda press service.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with Deputy secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xinjiang Committee and XUAR chairman Erkin Tuniyaz. Photo credit: Akorda

“I was recently in Ürümqi and we had very good negotiations regarding the prospects for Kazakhstan’s cooperation with China as a whole and, of course, with Xinjiang province,” said Tokayev.

“We are closely following China’s economic growth, noting the dynamic development and the results that have been achieved in this process. China is one of the major countries in the world in terms of economic development. Therefore, for us, a neighboring state, cooperation is beneficial and necessary. As for Kazakhstan, we will do our best to ensure that this cooperation develops successfully,” he added.

Kazakhstan interacts with Xinjiang in many areas, including trade, industry, transportation, logistics, agriculture and tourism. 

Tuniyaz underscored the robust historical and economic connections, emphasizing the enduring nature of the relationship over the years.

“Sino-Kazakh friendship has a long history. Under the strategic leadership of President Xi Jinping and Your Excellency, the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative and the ‘Nurly Zhol’ economic development strategy have been successfully implemented. China and Kazakhstan have established an eternal comprehensive strategic partnership,” said Tuniyaz.

During the meeting held with the Kazakh Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov on the same day, the two sides discussed opportunities for enhancing collaboration in trade, economics, and investment, as outlined by previously established agreements between the two state leaders.

China is Kazakhstan’s major foreign trade partner, with bilateral trade turnover reaching $31.5 billion last year. XUAR of China borders four Kazakh regions and accounts for over 64% or $20.3 billion of the total trade turnover with China.

Investment cooperation has demonstrated remarkable strength over the years, with cumulative Chinese investments since 2005 amounting to nearly $25 billion. Direct Chinese investments surged by 37% in the first nine months of last year alone. Today, the list of 45 Kazakh-Chinese projects indicates a collective investment exceeding $14.5 billion.

“An important direction of our interaction is the expansion of investment cooperation, supported by new joint industrial projects, including those in the fields of petrochemicals and metallurgy,” said Bektenov.

He also noted the significant potential for diversification of trade relations.

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