News Digest: Foreign Media on Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, Kazakh-Chinese Ties and More

ASTANA – The Astana Times has selected articles from global media outlets covering Kazakhstan. This week’s foreign media digest includes articles on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, Kazakh-Chinese partnership, Lithuanian-Kazakh cooperation, and more.

Astana. Photo credit: The Astana Times

Can Kazakhstan convince great powers to pursue dialogue?

The Geopolitics released an article on July 1 about the SCO summit and Kazakhstan’s role in promoting peace. 

“Kazakhstan, the Central Asian nation hosting the SCO summit in its capital, Astana, this week—is able to contribute to lowering tensions and shifting the global agenda toward dialogue rather than conflict. This is reflected in the summit’s theme, Strengthening Multilateral Dialogue – Striving Towards a Sustainable Peace and Prosperity,” the article reads.

Using its position as chair of the SCO, which is not a military bloc but a regional organization representing over three billion people – around 45% of the world’s population – Kazakhstan is promoting an alternative message. Instead of confrontation and bloc mentality, Astana is advocating for diplomacy as a means to strengthen trust and a stable global order.

The article adds that despite being the ninth-largest country in the world, Kazakhstan has been underestimated for its political influence. However, this perception has been changing since President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s election in 2019, culminating in hosting the SCO summit with leaders from China, Russia, Pakistan, other members of the SCO, as well as UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

UN chief to leaders of regional bloc: end wars, deal with existential crises

Deep global divisions and conflicts must end to clear a path to tackling world’s two existential threats: climate change and the negative impacts of the artificial intelligence (AI) boom, UN chief António Guterres told the SCO summit in Astana on Thursday, according to UN News on July 4.

“The central goal of our multilateral system must be peace – a pre-condition for sustainable development and the enjoyment of human rights,” he told the heads of state attending the world’s largest regional organization meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital.

With such wide representation, the SCO has the power and the responsibility to push for peace, the chief of the UN insisted.

China, Kazakhstan launch new connectivity projects to boost bilateral, regional cooperation

In a major step aimed at bolstering connectivity and cooperation, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev attended the opening ceremonies of a transportation project and several cultural exchange facilities on July 3, reported Xinhua on July 4.

These projects, poised to enhance both bilateral and regional connectivity, highlight the two countries’ commitment to strengthening ties, and evoke the region’s illustrious history as a crossroads of trade and culture.

In parallel with infrastructure developments, China and Kazakhstan enhanced “soft connectivity” through new cultural and educational projects.

In addition to attending the opening ceremony of the Chinese Culture Center in Astana and the Kazakh Culture Center in Beijing, the two heads of state also unveiled the Kazakhstan Branch of Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU).

Noting that President Tokayev studied Chinese at BLCU from 1983 to 1984, BLCU President Duan Peng called the Kazakh leader “a brand ambassador for Chinese language and culture education at BLCU.”

Kazakhstan’s chairmanship lauded as 24th SCO Summit convenes in Astana

EU Reporter published an article on July 4 about the SCO, chaired by Kazakhstan.

The article quotes President Tokayev, who stated at the summit that the SCO has become an effective mechanism of interstate relations, operating on the basis of the Shanghai spirit of friendship, good neighborliness, equality, and mutual support. The Kazakh leader highlighted the significance of the SCO and the event. 

SCO fosters regional stability & multilateral coop

The SCO summit is a major occasion, not least because the organization represents over three billion people – nearly 45% of the world’s population. The SCO plays a key role in fostering regional stability, economic growth, and multilateral cooperation, according to The Economic Times on July 4.

“This summit is an opportunity for us to reaffirm our commitment to the principles of mutual respect, equality, and consensus-building and to chart a path forward for the organization,” Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko told a group of foreign journalists ahead of the summit.

Erdoğan meets with Azerbaijani, Pakistani leaders in Kazakhstan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on July 3 in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, where he traveled for the SCO summit, Hurriyet Daily News reported on July 4.

During the closed-door trilateral meeting, the leaders discussed regional and global issues as well as areas of cooperation between their countries.

Erdoğan said that there are many joint steps that Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan can take in various fields, which would be beneficial for all three countries.

The Turkish leader noted that in a region beset by wars, conflicts, and tensions, cooperation initiatives would contribute to both regional and global peace.

The Kazakhstan-China axis: the new center of power in the Asian region 

The Lithuanian newspaper Respublika published an interview with Kazakh Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko on July 1. In the interview, the media discussed the prospects for Lithuanian-Kazakh cooperation and Kazakh-Chinese relations. 

“Lithuania has traditionally been an important and reliable partner of Kazakhstan in Europe. There are no critically acute and unresolved problems in relations between the two countries. For more than three decades, our countries have established close ties across the entire spectrum of bilateral cooperation, including political, trade, economic, cultural, and humanitarian spheres. Astana and Vilnius traditionally support each other on international platforms, and interparliamentary and interregional cooperation is actively developing,” Vassilenko said. 

Belarus’ admission to the SCO makes it a 10-member association

After a virtual affair in 2023, the in-person SCO summit is closely watched as Belarus’ admission makes it a 10-member organization, ASIA-Plus reported on July 5.

The summit began with an official ceremony where all relevant documents for the country’s membership were signed.

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