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Kazakh youth: A more collaborative SCO means a more secure region

Enoch Wong

As the 24th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) convenes in Astana, anticipation runs high. In an interview with CGTN's Enoch Wong, Rafael Bekshentayev, a Renmin University of China graduate and energy sector expert, emphasized the summit's potential to boost regional collaboration. Astana, with its newly refurbished infrastructure, is poised to welcome leaders and dignitaries, reinforcing its role as a vital regional hub.

Youthful enthusiasm and bilateral tourism


The summit is generating considerable excitement among the Kazakh populace, particularly the youth. Astana's young entrepreneurs see this as an opportunity to showcase their innovations and engage with international visitors. The simultaneous celebration of the Kazakhstan Tourism Year in China is set to strengthen bilateral ties, promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding. Visa-free travel between the two nations, initiated in late 2023, is expected to boost tourism, allowing more Chinese visitors to experience Kazakhstan firsthand, fostering deeper ties and long-term cooperation.

Energy: the cornerstone of regional security


Energy security is a pivotal issue for the SCO region, with Kazakhstan playing a crucial role due to its abundant energy resources. The nation's vast reserves of oil, gas and uranium position it as a key player in the region's energy dynamics. The potential for nuclear energy, in particular, is a hot topic. Kazakhstan is leading in uranium production but has yet to harness it domestically for power generation. Upcoming referendums on nuclear power plants and joint ventures with China, such as the Ulba Metallurgical Plant, highlight the strategic importance of energy collaboration. Ensuring a stable and secure energy supply is paramount to sustaining economic growth and regional stability.

China's upcoming SCO presidency: a vision for the future


As China prepares to assume the rotating presidency of the SCO in 2025, expectations are high for a reinvigoration of the organization's foundational principles. There is a keen anticipation that China will bridge gaps between the Belt and Road Initiative and the SCO, aligning economic and security agendas to create a cohesive strategy for regional development. The presidency offers China a platform to promote multilateralism and refine the strategic focus of the SCO, ensuring it adapts to the evolving geopolitical landscape. This alignment is seen as essential for fostering long-term prosperity and harmony across the region.

The 24th SCO summit in Astana is more than just a diplomatic gathering; it is a significant step towards deeper regional integration and cooperation. With the promise of enhanced multilateral ties under China's future leadership, the SCO stands poised to navigate the challenges of the 21st century, fostering a stable and prosperous future for its member states.

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