According to the CPC, former Chinese President Jiang Zemin died at the age of 96 in Shanghai. He became President of the People’s Republic of China in 1993, and left his post in 2003.

Yesterday, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K.K. Tokayev sent a telegram of condolences to Chinese President Xi Jinping. “We all know Jiang Zemin well as an outstanding son of his country, who selflessly served in the name of China’s prosperity and raising the country’s authority in the international community. His bright image as an outstanding personality who made a significant contribution to strengthening the ties of friendship between Kazakhstan and China will forever remain in the memory of our peoples,” the telegram says.

In 1989, Jiang Zemin replaced Zhao Ziyang as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), who supported the demands of protesters during a student demonstration in Tiananmen Square. After that, Mr. Zhao was removed from power and placed under house arrest. In 1993, Jiang Zemin became President of the People’s Republic of China. In his politics, he continued Deng Xiaoping’s reforms. Among the achievements – he brought the Chinese economy to the seventh place in the world. Under Jiang Zemin, China joined the WTO. Jiang Zemin made the theory of the “three representations” part of the CPC party program, according to which the Communist Party was declared “the representative of the interests of the advanced productive forces” of the Chinese people, and entrepreneurs were a key part of these productive forces, along with workers and peasants

Jiang Zemin played a very important role in regional diplomacy and in China’s relations with the ROK in particular. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), created at that time, as part of the diplomatic legacy of the Jiang Zemin period, became the first regional organization that bears a Chinese name and in which Beijing takes an active part. Today, the SCO is one of the pillars of regional development, stability and security in the vast region of Eurasia.

Jiang Zemin played a special role in Kazakh-Chinese relations. Under him, the PRC began to show attention to neighboring republics that were in the USSR. It was under Jiang Zemin that China became the third country to declare the independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan on December 27, 1991, and Kazakhstan was the first country in the Central Asian region with which China established diplomatic relations at the embassy level.

In the book “Overcoming”, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K.Tokayev wrote: “On January 3, 1992, the parties signed the “Joint Communique on the establishment of Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China” and the “Memorandum of Understanding on the joint Communique on the establishment of Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China”, which gave rise to the first official interstate contacts for the subsequent development of full-fledged bilateral cooperation. Already in February of the same year, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan S.A.Tereshchenko visited China.” According to the memoirs of K.Tokayev, the Kazakh representatives were given an exceptionally warm welcome. Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan S.A.Tereshchenko was received by all Chinese leaders, including General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Jiang Zemin, who listened attentively to the story about Kazakhstan, asked leading questions. With great satisfaction, the Chinese leader received the message of N. Nazarbayev that Kazakhstan intends to start building good-neighborly, friendly relations with China and recognizes Taiwan as an integral part of the PRC.
Under Jiang Zemin, on April 26, 1994, Kazakhstan and China signed a historic agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China on the state border, which became a new page in Kazakh history. On September 24, 1997, the “Supplementary Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China on the Kazakh-Chinese State Border” was signed.

In 2002, the “Protocol on the Demarcation of the Kazakh-Chinese border” was signed in Beijing. A fully delimited and demarcated border without any disputed sections corresponds to the strategic interests of Kazakhstan.

In his memoirs about diplomatic work in the book “Light and Shadow”, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K.K.Tokayev shares memories that in one of the conversations with President N.A. Nazarbayev, Chinese leader Jiang Zemin said that China should not be afraid: This country is interested in a peaceful environment and the development of good-neighborly cooperation with Kazakhstan. Literally , he stated: “China will never do anything bad for Kazakhstan, will never harm your country.” He compared China to a large dragon, every movement of which makes whole continents tremble. Therefore, Jiang Zemin noted, our country behaves quietly and modestly, we focus on internal development issues, do not interfere in the affairs of other states. As if to confirm his words and promises not to harm Kazakhstan, Chinese President Jiang Zemin made a great personal contribution to the final settlement of the border problem.

In his personal memoirs of meetings with Jiang Zemin, the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev shared this opinion: “Jiang Zemin is an open person who can appreciate the beauty of the world. Maybe because he was the first Chinese leader without a revolutionary or military post in the past. Jiang Zemin was, unlike his predecessors, said to be a simple man. He could tell jokes, smile, sing, even contrary to the Chinese tradition to touch the interlocutor. He loved to sing”… (from the archives of the Library of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan).

In December 2002, the state visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev to China took place. On this basis of the achieved results of bilateral relations, on December 23, 2002, the leaders of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China signed an important and fundamental document – an Agreement on Good-neighborliness, Friendship and cooperation. The provisions of the Agreement reflect the results of the achieved positive relations established in the 1990s, which laid the foundation for the future establishment of a strategic partnership between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China.

Under Jiang Zemin, China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, was given security guarantees in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons, which Kazakhstan inherited from the USSR. The idea of Kazakhstan to establish the CICA as the basis of regional security in Asia, as well as Kazakhstan’s initiative on a universal complete ban on nuclear tests in the world were also supported.

The logical continuation of the establishment of trusting relations between Kazakhstan and China was the decision of the Chinese side to invest in large long-term projects in Kazakhstan.
Few people know that under Jiang Zemin in 1995, an agreement was signed between the PRC and the ROK on the use of the Chinese seaport of Lianyungang for the transportation of Kazakh transit cargo, which today opened the way for Kazakhstan to Asia. And although, in fact, the agreement began work in 2014 (this is due to the construction of railways inside China), Kazakhstan’s direct access to the Pacific Ocean changes the future geo-economic paradigm of our country’s development.

Under Jiang Zemin, the Governments of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China signed Agreements on cooperation in the field of oil and gas, a General Agreement between the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the China National Oil and Gas Corporation (CNPC) on field development and pipeline construction projects. In the same year, Kazakhstan and China signed the “contract of the century”, as the media called the agreement on the construction of a pipeline from Western Kazakhstan to Western China with a length of 2,900 km, and CNPC corporation acquired 60% of the shares of the Kazakh enterprise Aktobemunaygas.

In the 1990s, an agreement was reached between the two countries on the construction of such major energy projects as the Atasu–Alashankou oil pipeline (“Kazakhstan – China”) and the main gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China through the territory of Kazakhstan, which today contributes to increasing the beneficial interconnectedness of the economies of Central Asia with China.
In total, during his political career, Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Kazakhstan 4 times with visits of various levels (the first official visit to Kazakhstan took place in July 1996, then in 1998, 2000, 2002).

Jiang Zemin, who left the post of China’s leader in 2002, outlined a kind of political testament regarding Kazakh-Chinese cooperation. In particular, he stated: “Firstly, it is necessary to pass friendship from generation to generation. Secondly, we should continue to develop relations based on mutual trust. Thirdly, it is important to strengthen the material basis of cooperation. We are talking about building up trade and economic ties, cooperation in the field of energy. Fourth, to deepen humanitarian contacts, partnership in the field of culture and art. Fifth, to strengthen cooperation in the fight against the “three evils”, that is, separatism, religious extremism and terrorism. Sixth, to deepen mutual understanding on issues related to the situation in Central Asia.”

Thus, Chinese President Jiang Zemin laid the long-term and fundamental foundations of good neighborliness and mutually beneficial relations between Kazakhstan and China, which are still being implemented by the two states and the new generations of leaders of Kazakhstan and China.

The Kazakhstan Center for the Study of China expresses its sincere condolences to the Chinese people in connection with the death of a major and visionary statesman of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin.

Blessed is his memory.

China Studies Centre,

Astana, 2022

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