Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday said he is looking forward to new progress in China-Kazakhstan ties.
President Xi made the remarks while meeting the first President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is in Beijing to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which closed in the Chinese capital on Saturday.
Xi lauded Nazarbayev's role in Kazakhstan's independence and development as well as his contribution to the China-Kazakhstan comprehensive strategic partnership.
The bilateral ties have stood tests for the past 27 years and displayed strong vitality, Xi added.
China and Kazakhstan spearheaded the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the two sides need to deepen its synergy with Kazakhstan's Bright Path development plan, President Xi said.
The two sides should facilitate trade and investment, improve connectivity, expand cultural exchanges and regional cooperation, as well as work closely on international affairs, Xi noted.
President Xi said he is looking forward to forging a close working relationship and friendship with Kazakhstan's new president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to push for new progress in bilateral ties.
Nazarbayev noted it's his 19th meeting with President Xi, his good and old friend, and he will always cherish this profound friendship.
Calling China a trustworthy partner, Nazarbayev said China's development and responsibilities are of great significance to the world and mankind.
He congratulated President Xi on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, saying no other country in the world has made such great progress in such a short period of time.
Nazarbayev said that Kazakhstan's internal and external policies will still be consistent and stable after his departure from office and his country will continue to firmly remain committed to promoting the development of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.
As Kazakhstan's Bright Path development plan has become an important part of the Belt and Road cooperation, Kazakhstan is willing to deepen bilateral cooperation under the framework of the BRI, Nazarbayev added.
Also on Sunday, President Xi awarded Nazarbayev a Friendship Medal, China's highest state honor for foreigners, which is presented to those who have made outstanding contributions to China's modernization, promoting exchange and cooperation between China and the world, and safeguarding world peace.
Nazarbayev is the creator and promoter of China-Kazakhstan comprehensive strategic partnership, Xi said at the ceremony.
Thanks to him, bilateral ties have maintained a high level, Xi added, noting that Nazarbayev has promoted the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, and made an important contribution to maintaining regional and even world peace and stability.
The Chinese president recalled that he first proposed the initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt in Kazakhstan in 2013. The initiative received a warm response from Nazarbayev and the Kazakh community immediately, Xi said. Under the framework of the BRI, China and Kazakhstan took the lead in capacity cooperation, promoted the alignment of development strategies and implemented a number of major cooperation projects.
China-Kazakhstan cooperation has established a model of mutual complementarity and mutual benefit in the international community, Xi added.
Nazarbayev expressed thanks for Xi awarding him the medal, saying that it is the highest honor and reflects China's high recognition of his efforts to promote bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.
He said the BRI proposed by Xi has become a successful platform for international cooperation, promoting the common development of the Eurasian continent as well as world peace and prosperity.