Sino-Kazakh relations are mutually beneficial and firming over time
Updated 16:25, 17-May-2023
Shakhrat Nuryshev
Sino-Kazakh relations are mutually beneficial and firming over time

Sino-Kazakh relations are mutually beneficial and firming over time.mp3


Editor's note: Decision Makers is a global platform for decision makers to share their insights on events shaping today's world. Shakhrat Nuryshev is the Kazakh Ambassador to China. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

In September 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping chose to visit Kazakhstan on his first overseas trip amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision signifies the high-level nature of the permanent comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. Our president is preparing for a reciprocal state visit to China. We anticipate that Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's visit will be instrumental in driving further progress in our bilateral relations. We are in the process of preparing a suite of documents for signing. We hope that Kazakhstan and China can reach cooperation agreements across various fields, including high-tech innovation, business set-ups, petrochemicals, export of Kazakh agricultural products to China, and culture and education.

The year 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Kazakhstan. Over the past three decades, the China-Kazakhstan relationship has maintained healthy and stable development momentum. At present, there are no political differences between the two countries, and our leaders are in close political dialogue. We enjoy a very close relationship in a wide range of areas, such as trade, culture, diplomacy, energy, transportation and investment. At present, the China-Kazakhstan relationship is making steady progress, with no contradictions or conflicts, and we can always find solutions to various issues.

In 2019, when the two countries established a permanent comprehensive strategic partnership, the leaders on both sides agreed on the importance of developing friendly relations between Kazakhstan and China for the future. In fact, we can see that the relationship between the two countries is constantly making progress. The role that both heads of state have played in this development is significant and deserves much credit. Being of the same age, and thereby, the same generation, they can easily find common ground and understand each other very quickly. Their dialogues, always conducted in a spirit of friendship, have laid a solid foundation for the further deepening of the bilateral relationship.

China is about to host the China-Central Asia Summit, and we believe that the event will yield abundant and mutually beneficial results. I hope that we can reach a consensus on the regular convening of this Summit, as such a mechanism would undoubtedly facilitate the continuous enhancement of cooperation between China and Central Asian countries. The preparatory work for this summit has fortified our belief in the potential for progress regarding this mechanism, given a specific framework it is set to establish. It is poised to create a fixed framework, under which a spectrum of mechanisms will be established at both the ministerial level and other functional institution levels. Regular meetings will provide a platform for dialogue on cooperative endeavors and issue resolution.

The primary objective of this summit is to initiate a new stage of cooperation between Central Asian countries and China. An important point is that the Central Asian region is seen here as an integral entity, not divided into five separate nations, but rather engaging with China in unity in the spirit of neighborly friendship. Therefore, we keenly anticipate it.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We all still remember the year 2013 in Astana, when President Xi made his first state visit to Kazakhstan, and proposed the initiative of jointly building a Silk Road Economic Belt for the first time in his speech at Nazarbayev University.

I wish to underscore that the past decade has witnessed fruitful cooperation between Kazakhstan and China under the framework of the BRI. The BRI aligns seamlessly with our "Bright Road" Initiative, leading to the successful implementation of a number of projects. As we know, our countries have jointly built a logistics base in Lianyungang, which serves as a pivotal conduit for Kazakhstan to interact with Southeast Asian countries. As a landlocked country, we recognize that China has opened the door for us to develop cross-border cooperation, including cooperation with Southeast Asian countries.

A China-Europe freight train arrives from Kazakhstan at Xinzhu in Xian, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, February 3, 2021. /Xinhua
A China-Europe freight train arrives from Kazakhstan at Xinzhu in Xian, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, February 3, 2021. /Xinhua

A China-Europe freight train arrives from Kazakhstan at Xinzhu in Xian, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, February 3, 2021. /Xinhua

Together, we have implemented the "Khorgos-Eastern Gate" special economic zone project, resulting in the construction of a mutual land port. Currently, over half of the China-Europe railway transportation and container shipments pass through Kazakhstan. We have two rail routes that traverse Kazakhstan en route to Europe. Due to various factors, the demand for rail container transport is growing. Kazakhstan is taking a series of measures to increase the capacity of its domestic railways.

Last year, the volume of railway transport between Kazakhstan and China reached 23 million tons. As we look to the future, with the completion of the Dostyk-Moiynty and the Ayagoz-Bakhty railway sections, the capacity of existing railway stations will be further enhanced. This will boost the throughput and transshipment capabilities of railway stations within the territories of both nations. The opening of new railway routes will create an additional channel for cargo transportation between China and Europe, as well as between China, Central Asian countries and Russia.

Within the framework of the BRI, the Kazakhstan National Railway Company, which already has a logistics base at the seaport of Lianyungang, is currently in discussions about building a logistics center in Xian. Xian is widely known as a logistics hub and the starting point of the Silk Road. Xian once saw the first fleet of China-Europe freight trains depart from its ground. Therefore, our railway company hopes to set up a logistics base in Xian and initiate rail services to better deliver cargo in the future from China to Europe and other countries neighboring Kazakhstan.

Following President Xi's proposition of the BRI, Kazakhstan was among the first group of countries to pledge its support. We perceive it as immensely beneficial, not only to bilateral transport cooperation but also to enhancing Kazakhstan's railway capacity. In Kazakhstan, we strive to attract foreign investment while also investing in our railway infrastructures. This endeavor has been pivotal in creating job opportunities for the Kazakh people. So we hope to foster deeper and more long-term cooperation under the framework of the BRI. We wish to see a mutually beneficial cooperation.

In this new era, Kazakhstan adopted a new concept in 2021 for its investment policy leading up to 2025. Within this conceptual framework, we are collaborating with foreign investors, hoping that their interest in investing in Kazakhstan extends beyond the mere extraction of certain mineral resources and into deeper processing fields. It is very clear that China has recently made significant strides in areas such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and artificial intelligence have seen remarkable development. Therefore, we are keen on drawing from China's advanced experiences, thus injecting new impetus into Kazakhstan's innovation domain. We are interested in attracting Chinese investment in our manufacturing sector to enhance our capabilities in areas such as automobile manufacturing, machine tool production, mechanical manufacturing, and oil refining equipment production. That is to say, our task is not merely to attract investment in mining but to attract foreign investment, including that from China, in deep processing of products made in Kazakhstan, thereby creating greater value.

I believe that in the near future, the amount of attracted investment will only increase. It's worth noting that Kazakh entrepreneurs are also investing in some enterprises in China, including those working on dairy production, mining, and agricultural product processing. In other words, this is a two-way process. Not only is Kazakhstan attracting Chinese investment, but Kazakh investors are also investing in China because they see China as a vast market, a colossal consumer market valued at trillions of U.S. dollars. Our entrepreneurs aspire to carve out their niche in these supply chains within the Chinese market. We have a solid contractual legal foundation, and extensive agreements have been reached between Kazakhstan and China, including agreements on new directions of cooperation. All of these are mutually beneficial and mutually recognized. Under the stewardship of our leaders, I believe that in the coming years, our bilateral relationship will evolve in an increasingly progressive manner.

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