President Xi Jinping’s visit to Kazakhstan charts new blueprint for China-Kazakhstan relations

By Zhang Xiao

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Kazakhstan. Over the past 30 years, China-Kazakhstan relations have progressed by leaps and bounds and reached the high level of permanent comprehensive strategic partnership, setting a good example of good-neighborly friendship and win-win cooperation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Kazakhstan will deepen the two countries’ political mutual trust, expand their comprehensive cooperation and usher in next golden 30 years of Kazakhstan-China relations.

China and Kazakhstan have always maintained reliable political relations. They offer each other firm support on issues concerning their respective core interests.

China firmly supports Kazakhstan in safeguarding independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Kazakhstan has openly and repeatedly expressed its firm support for the one-China principle.

When the unrest took place in Kazakhstan in January this year, President Xi immediately sent a verbal message to his Kazakh counterpart, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, stressing that China firmly opposes any forces undermining Kazakhstan’s stability and threatening Kazakhstan’s security.

In recent years, the two countries have witnessed an increase in intergovernmental exchanges at all levels. The strategic guidance of the two heads of state has charted a blueprint for all-round China-Kazakhstan cooperation.

China-Kazakhstan practical cooperation has maintained healthy development. New fruits are constantly being achieved in the two countries’ Belt and Road cooperation and other pragmatic cooperation.

Bilateral trade between China and Kazakhstan surged 18.9 percent year on year to $17.67 billion in the first seven months of this year, and the full-year figure is expected to reach a historic high.

The two countries have identified 52 projects of production capacity cooperation in mining, energy, industry, commerce and transport, with a total worth of more than $21.2 billion.

The two countries have continuously enhanced interconnectivity. In the first half of this year, a record of 6,195 China-Europe freight trains passed through Kazakhstan.

Chinese home appliances, mobile phones and automobiles are popular in Kazakhstan, and Kazakhstan’s green agricultural products are welcomed by Chinese consumers. The two countries are seeing increasing economic complementarity and dependence. In the future, China and Kazakhstan will further strengthen communication and coordination in terms of development strategies to add more substance to bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

China-Kazakhstan friendship has taken deep roots between the two peoples.

Facing COVID-19, the two countries and their people offered mutual understanding and support, setting a good example of anti-pandemic cooperation. Kazakhstan is home to five Confucius Institutes that offer Chinese language courses to over 3,000 people each year. The two countries are also seeing closer cooperation in education, films and television, publishing, entertainment and the media, and will soon establish cultural centers in each other’s countries.

China and Kazakhstan have established 19 pairs of sister provinces and cities. This July, they resumed direct flights between each other and Chinese nationals can enter Kazakhstan for up to 14 days based on a new visa-free policy. The two countries have decided to set up consulates general in China’s Xi’an and Aktobe in Kazakhstan respectively.

As the two peoples continue enhancing mutual understanding and deepening their friendship, China and Kazakhstan will jointly write a new chapter in the century-old Silk Road.

China and Kazakhstan have constantly enhanced coordination under multilateral frameworks. Both of them are important countries in Eurasia and members of the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. They are committed to safeguarding the international system with UN at its core, and have kept close cooperation in multilateral organizations to jointly promote regional and global peace and stability.

President Tokayev actively supports the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi. The two countries have the same or similar stances on regional hotspot issues. China is willing to enhance solidarity and coordination with Kazakhstan to build a closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future.

By setting sail together, we could brave a journey of ten thousand miles. It is believed that SCO member states, including China and Kazakhstan, will take the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of State as an opportunity to further strengthen dialogues, build consensus and promote cooperation, and constantly make new contributions to consolidating regional security and promoting common development.

(Zhang Xiao is the Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan.)