Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Beibut Atamkulov told about the results of the state visit of the Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to the People’s Republic of China in an interview with Kazakhstan Pravda.

– Beibut Bakirovich, please tell us about the features of the last state visit of the Head of State to China.

– This visit is a historic one, it continues the traditions of meetings at the highest level, initiated by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev. And on the basis of all the previously reached agreements and results, this visit is intended to open a new stage of Kazakh-Chinese relations.

After all, as you know, this year China has crossed its 70-year milestone. In turn, Kazakhstan is preparing to turn over the 30-year period of modern development. Both countries are approaching these anniversaries stronger and more confident, ready for new horizons of friendship, strategic partnership and joint growth.

In this regard, the visit of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to China included numerous contacts with representatives of Chinese political, business and academic circles. The most important point of the program of the visit of the Head of State was his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It was held in a very warm and friendly atmosphere.

The key topics discussed by the two heads of state touched upon the most pressing issues for the two sides.

So, among them, we can highlight the pairing of “Nurly Zhol” and the “One Belt – One Road” initiative, the implementation of specific joint projects, cooperation in the financial sphere, increasing trade turnover, developing transit and transport potential, and much more.

The Presidents also compared positions on the main issues of the current international agenda.

I would like to note that this meeting of the leaders of Kazakhstan and China at the highest level is already the second in a row this year. Before the visit of the Head of State to China, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Xi Jinping held bilateral talks in Bishkek on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit held there in June this year.

– Did you mention the meeting of the Head of State with the academic circles of the People’s Republic of China? What is the significance of such an event for bilateral relations?

– The stay of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Beijing within the framework of a two-day state visit to the People’s Republic of China was marked not only by high-level meetings.

The Head of our state made an extended report on bilateral relations to Chinese academic circles within the walls of the leading “think tank” of the People’s Republic of China – the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The significance of the President’s speech at the CAON is that Kazakhstan is dynamically developing and new opportunities are opening up. Therefore, it was important to present the Kazakh leader’s detailed vision of the prospects for the development of our country and Kazakh-Chinese relations.

The event at the Academy was attended by representatives of various” think tanks ” of the People’s Republic of China. All of them at their own level prepare analytical assessments and forecasts for the leadership of China on Kazakhstan, its development and possible areas of cooperation with our republic, etc.

In addition, in addition to Chinese scientists and experts, the ambassadors of the CIS countries to China, the SCO Secretary General, representatives of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, the Propaganda Department and the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, etc. were invited to the meeting at the CAON.

Thus, our President made a wide-ranging presentation of modern Kazakhstan and its initiatives to a highly professional audience with one meaningful speech.

After all, it is very important that the understanding of our country and its features abroad is objective and accurate. And is it possible to find a better source for such an understanding than the opportunity to listen directly to the leader of a partner state and talk with him?

Thus, a direct dialogue with the political-forming circles became an important component of the visit from the position of both image and applied tasks of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China. This is a very good global practice.

– As part of the coverage of the state visit, it is especially emphasized everywhere that this trip of the President of our country to the People’s Republic of China is taking place on the eve of its 70th anniversary. Why is this important and what is the significance of this anniversary date?

– Yes, the state visit of the President of Kazakhstan to the People’s Republic of China took place against the background of great historical processes in this country. The modernization of the country or the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics, along the path of which China has been following for 40 years, is marked by truly major world-class achievements.

Without exaggeration, China has become one of the largest and leading economies in the world. Its share in world GDP now exceeds 18 percent.

Just imagine, back in 1990, the weight of the PRC in the world economy was only 2 percent, and today our eastern neighbor is the “number two” global economy.

And today, China is a very popular issue for studying and building a wide variety of scenario forecasts. And this is understandable, because in the XXI
century, in fact, it is the most vivid and large-scale phenomenon of the rapid historical breakthrough of a developing country, as they say, from the “third world to the first”.

Innovations and the latest technologies are being rapidly introduced in China, and investments in science are increasing. Today, the country ranks first in the number of applications for scientific patents, surpassing even traditional leaders in the field of technology and innovation.

Thus, the modern PRC has entered a completely new path of its development. The country has entered the top three largest international investors, along with other developed countries of the world.

Today, the model of Chinese development is changing.

From a “world factory”, as it has long been used to be perceived, and the largest exporter, this country is turning into a major consumer of goods and services. At the same time, the emphasis is on stimulating domestic demand and on the production of more high-tech products.

Among other things, China, with a population of 1.4 billion people, is currently the world’s largest consumer market with a powerful potential.

This is facilitated by the increase in the number of the middle class, and the systematic reduction of poverty of the population. Thus, the opportunities for economic cooperation with the PRC, especially on the scale of Kazakhstan, are virtually limitless.

Throughout its five-thousand-year history, China has always been able to surprise. This is happening now. There is a good expression in the expert community: “China is changing faster than our perception of China.” It very succinctly reflects the highest dynamics of the vigorous growth of this large country.

And for Kazakhstan, these grandiose changes are of particular importance, as for a friendly neighbor and strategic partner of the People’s Republic of China.

Accordingly, to put it simply, all the new opportunities in the development of modern China are also a new chance for the promising growth of Kazakhstan. You just need to use it correctly.

– The text of the joint statement on the results of the high-level talks notes that Kazakhstan and China continue to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership. What does this mean in practice?

– Yes, indeed, the official wording in the joint statement of the leaders of the two states states that in the new time Kazakhstan and China will develop their relations in the format of ” eternal comprehensive strategic partnership in the spirit of mutual benefit, unshakable friendship, mutual trust and comprehensive cooperation in the face of common challenges.”

And here I would like to tell you in more detail what this really means in translation from the official language and diplomatic terminology.

First, why “eternal”? We need to start with the fact that Kazakhstan and China are good neighbors, so we are destined to interact both by fate and geography. In addition, the peoples of the Country of the Great Steppe and the Celestial Empire have been living side by side for several thousand years. All this is recorded in historical chronicles and archives. And we strive to live as good neighbors for as long in the future.

Secondly, we will consider the “comprehensive strategic partnership”. For 27 years, relations between Kazakhstan and China have acquired a broad and balanced character. The two countries are conducting a constructive political dialogue, working closely in all sectors of the economy and developing humanitarian cooperation. Thus, there are almost no areas where we do not interact. And today, Kazakhstan and China are very important to each other, as neighbors and as partners, which is why our relations are called strategic.

Thirdly ,the “spirit of mutual benefit, unshakable friendship, mutual trust” means that Kazakhstan and China respect each other’s national interests, and also confirm the fixed inviolability of borders and the principle of territorial integrity of our states. This, in turn, creates a trusting atmosphere for the further development of equal partnership relations.

And, finally, “comprehensive cooperation in the face of common challenges” means that our countries will continue to cooperate to strengthen stability and maintain regional security, including through such organizations as the UN,CICA and SCO.

And our countries intend to cooperate closely in international and regional affairs, together to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region and in the world as a whole.

Thus, at the new stage of bilateral cooperation, Kazakhstan and China have once again confirmed at the highest level the fundamental conditions thanks to which we have been developing good and mutually beneficial relations with China all this time. This is very important for moving forward together.

– Thank you for the detailed answer and explanation. And what was the economic agenda of the last presidential visit to China?

– Over the years, economic relations and interaction between our countries have become dynamic and diverse, both in quantitative and sectoral terms. We have really achieved a lot.

But, despite all its vastness, it must be said that the potential of economic cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China has not yet been fully realized.

Therefore, each visit at the highest level reveals another new facet of bilateral economic relations and gives a “green light” to the realization of new opportunities. So it was this time.

At the level of both the governments of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China, as well as specific organizations, 10 agreements and other official documents were signed aimed at developing bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues.

Among the documents signed during the state visit of Kassym-Jomartokayev to the People’s Republic of China is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the implementation of the Cooperation Plan for combining the New Economic Policy “Nurly Zhol” and the construction of the “Silk Road Economic Belt”.

On this basis, both sides plan to expand cooperation in the field of trade in the direction of diversifying the structure of trade turnover between the two countries, searching for new sources of trade growth, including cross-border e-commerce, developing innovative cooperation, as well as stimulating trade in high-value-added products.

The implementation of the integration plan will further strengthen cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China in international cargo transportation, logistics, industry, finance, energy, agriculture, information technology and space.

All these are priority areas of development of the Kazakh economy.

Further construction of the Silk Road XXI
The century has a special significance for Kazakhstan. After all, 6 years ago, it was in our capital that the Chinese leader announced his initiative, so all the successes and difficulties of its implementation are automatically projected onto our country.

From a practical point of view, thanks to the joint construction of transport corridors with China, we have opened direct and fast access to the markets of the whole of Eurasia at once. That is, we have gained access to three world oceans at once – the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian. Just think about it!

Land Kazakhstan, which has always dreamed of having access to the sea, has connected three oceans and three centers of world economic growth at once, with a potential of 65% of world GDP and a capacity of more than 4 billion people.

This phenomenon is still not fully understood by our scientists, businessmen and society as a whole. But it is already obvious that the combination of the Kazakh and Chinese development programs has given a truly multiplicative effect for both Kazakhstan and China.

– Thus, we can say that a comprehensive strategic partnership with China brings our country concrete economic benefits and new opportunities for development…

– Judge for yourself. China is one of the largest foreign trade partners of Kazakhstan. It accounts for 15.7% of the total trade turnover.

China has invested about $ 20 billion in joint projects and currently ranks fourth in terms of foreign direct investment in the Kazakh economy. And this investment cooperation will only expand.

This is very important for Kazakhstan, which is conducting economic diversification. It is well known that the world economy is experiencing uncertainty, and investment opportunities in the international financial markets have significantly narrowed.

In this situation, investment cooperation with China is a good help for Kazakhstan to attract capital, technologies and continue the economic growth of our country.

And the Head of our state personally promotes this cooperation, meeting with the captains of Chinese big business. During his visit to China, K. K. Tokayev took part in a” round table ” with local business circles.

In his speech, he invited Chinese companies to work in the development of 5G networks, smart cities, big data, blockchain, tourism and agriculture, etc. It should be said that Chinese entrepreneurs have expressed great interest in developing business in Kazakhstan.

Moreover, China itself is a ready-made market in which you need to be able to work. The State creates all the necessary legal conditions for this. A number of documents signed during the visit to China are dedicated to this.

For example, our Ministry of Trade and Integration signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China. I am sure that this will open up more opportunities for exporting Kazakh products to the Chinese market.

We should be well aware that oil, gas and other raw materials will eventually run out. Therefore, it is important for us to develop the potential of the agro-industrial complex and promote our agricultural products to foreign markets.

Now our manufacturers need to gain a foothold in the growing Chinese market, this is a promising direction. And within the framework of this visit, relevant documents were signed with the Chinese side through the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In particular, these are protocols on inspection, quarantine and veterinary-sanitary requirements for dairy products, wool raw materials, flax exported from the Republic of Kazakhstan to the People’s Republic of China.

In fact, Kazakhstan has every opportunity to become a major supplier of environmentally friendly food products. Export to China will allow us to raise business in rural areas and develop a full production cycle in the agro-industrial complex.

So, in modern China, meat consumption is consistently growing. This opens up opportunities for Kazakhstan’s animal husbandry – from increasing the number of livestock to the production of meat and its processing for export.

There are many such examples, it all depends on the desire and activity of the Kazakhstani producers themselves. Moreover, China itself creates such business opportunities.

In particular, I would like to mention here that during the negotiations, the Chinese side invited Kazakhstan as an honorary guest and participant in the 2nd China International Import Exhibition, which is expected to be held in Shanghai in November this year.

– Taking into account the agreements reached, it is difficult to overestimate the practical significance of the state visit of the President of our country to China. And what do Kazakhstan’s bilateral relations with China look like in the future, taking into account the transition to a new stage?

– You are right, in general, during the meetings held, issues were discussed in almost all areas of cooperation, a number of important agreements were reached.

So we can confidently say that the state visit of the Head of State to China turned out to be successful and productive.

In general, now Kazakhstan and China are at a new stage of their state development, national revival and deepening of interstate relations.

And the past negotiations allow us to draw an important conclusion – our countries maintain full mutual understanding and respect, in many respects adhere to similar approaches and positions on issues of the international and regional agenda.

Kazakhstan and China also highly appreciate each other’s current achievements and support the aspirations of both countries to move to a new level of political and economic development.

In particular, the Chinese side highly appreciates the enormous achievements in state development, the implementation of an independent and peaceful foreign policy that the Republic of Kazakhstan has achieved over the years of independence under the wise leadership of the First President N. A. Nazarbayev.

Kazakhstan, in turn, highly appreciates the major achievements in the development and construction of China, the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the new important role of the PRC in the world economy and international affairs.

It is important that both countries see each other as a reliable partner, a source of profitable opportunities and joint work to achieve even greater results. It is this approach that creates synergy.

Following the results of the official “reconciliation of hours”, the leaders of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China confirmed their commitment to maintaining a positive tradition of close contacts at the highest and highest levels.

After all, a close and regular political dialogue creates a good basis for friendly bilateral relations and will allow converting all potential advantages into concrete results.

It is also important here that in the new period, when Kazakh-Chinese relations are approaching the symbolic mark of three decades, both countries see each other’s potential and are actually ready to make efforts together to further develop and strengthen cooperation.


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