Assistant to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Murat Nurtleuov told the details of the upcoming state visit of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to the People’s Republic of China.

– Murat Abugalievich, it is known that the Kazakh-Chinese relations have long and deep historical roots. And not least of all, the relations were formed on the basis of mutually beneficial cooperation between peoples and states. How are the relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China characterized today?

– For centuries, close mutual ties have been maintained between China and the ancient states of the Great Steppe. The main bridge of cooperation was the Great Silk Road – a unique trade and transit network that connected the East and the West not only with economic, but also with cultural and humanitarian ties. There was an intensive process of mutual enrichment of ideas and knowledge. All this has become a favorable basis for bringing our bilateral relations to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Thanks to the purposeful efforts of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev and the leaders of China, today the world is witnessing the revival of the Silk Road in its new modern concept. Mutually beneficial trade between peoples and countries is a guarantee of friendship, equality, respect for sovereignty and inviolability of borders. I would like to note that China became the first country with which Kazakhstan signed a Protocol on the demarcation of the state border on May 10, 2002 in Beijing. The document was signed by the then Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan K.Tokayev and China’s Tang Jiaxuan. And today, more than 1,700 kilometers of the Kazakh-Chinese border are the border of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Let’s not forget that it was possible to settle these issues in full compliance with the national interests of Kazakhstan and the principles of international law. We are actively developing cooperation within the framework of multilateral and regional organizations and forums. Kazakhstan and China mutually support international initiatives, we have the same approaches on most topical issues on the global agenda. Today, the legal framework of Kazakh-Chinese relations includes more than 250 intergovernmental and interdepartmental agreements in various fields.

Of particular importance here are the Treaty on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation signed in December 2002 in Beijing, the Joint Declaration on the Establishment and Development of Strategic Partnership (2005), and the Joint Declaration on a New Stage of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Relations adopted in 2015, which confirmed the mood for its further deepening.

As for bilateral economic cooperation, today it is characterized by positive dynamics, covering transit and transport infrastructure, trade, manufacturing, financial and energy sectors, mechanical engineering and other important areas. Our countries are implementing a number of large-scale economic projects, forming transport arteries between Europe and Asia.

In this regard, it is relevant to combine our new economic policy “Nurly Zhol” and Beijing’s initiative “The Silk Road Economic Belt”. All this shows the focus of the two states on long-term cooperation, mutual respect and compliance with generally accepted norms of interstate communication. We are close neighbors, and therefore we are well aware that a pragmatic and mutually respectful partnership is a key factor for the prosperity of our two peoples, as well as a guarantee of regional well-being and security.

– China is one of the largest foreign trade partners of Kazakhstan. What issues of bilateral cooperation are most relevant on the agenda today? What, in your opinion, can be highlighted?

– You are right, China is currently one of the largest trading partners of Kazakhstan. I will cite the figures only for last year, when the volume of bilateral trade amounted to $ 11.7 billion. Here I would like to note that in recent years there has been a tendency to improve the structure and balance in bilateral trade. According to the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan, China ranks 4th ($15.6 billion). according to the foreign investments attracted to our country, after the Netherlands, the USA and the UK.

At the same time, Kazakhstan’s principled position on all investment projects is formed taking into account state interests, commercial expediency, and the creation of new jobs for Kazakhstanis. The Astana International Financial Center opens up great prospects for cooperation. Along with NASDAQ, the London Stock Exchange and Goldman Sacks, the founders of the AIFC Exchange included the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Silk Road Fund, and the State Development Bank of China and a branch of China Construction Bank opened their representative offices at the Center’s site. Of course, there are a lot of proposals from enterprises and the business community for the implementation of various projects. There are a number of bilateral instruments for careful selection of the most promising ones.

In particular, I can mention the Cooperation Committee headed at the level of First Deputy Heads of Government, the Business Council with the participation of representatives of the business circles of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China, as well as the Forum of Interregional Cooperation of the Republic of Kazakhstan-the People’s Republic of China. In what direction should we move forward together, fully and profitably using the existing potential of cooperation? Which industries will become the” drivers ” of the strategic partnership? From my point of view, it is necessary to take into account global development trends here. First of all, this is the field of digital technologies, where China has achieved obvious success. Today, such areas of the innovative economy as 5G, Big Data, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, cloud technologies and supercomputers, and robotics are actively developing in China.

It is clear that Kazakhstan is interested in creating experimental laboratories, joint innovation and IT centers in Kazakhstan. One of the most convenient platforms for hosting such centers today is the International Technopark of IT Startups “Astana Hub”. Fast-growing China is increasingly in need of high-quality and environmentally friendly agricultural products. And our country, having large-scale agricultural opportunities, is aimed at expanding the export of its agricultural products to the Chinese market. Currently, a number of joint investment projects are being implemented in the field of processing and exporting wheat, sugar, milk, meat, wool, flax, tomatoes, rapeseed oil and other agricultural products.

China is one of the world’s largest energy consumers and at the same time a supporter of global environmental initiatives. Therefore, environmental protection, rational management of water resources of transboundary rivers, the development of alternative and renewable energy sources are also on the priority agenda of bilateral cooperation. The prospects for cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian sphere, including science, education, cinema and tourism, are promising. All these areas in the future, I think, will organically complement the substantive agenda of the Kazakh-Chinese comprehensive cooperation.

– Kazakhstan is successfully implementing the State program of infrastructure development “Nurly Zhol”. China is implementing its global initiative “One Belt, One Road”. What benefits does the combination of these two large-scale projects currently bring to our country?

– Today, China is the second economy in the world with a huge market. Over the past four decades, Beijing has acquired the necessary investment and technological potential to implement global infrastructure projects within the framework of the”One Belt, One Road”. By the way, this year marks the 6th anniversary of the official announcement of the “Silk Road Economic Belt” initiative, put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping at Nazarbayev University. In this regard, for Kazakhstan, located in the heart of Eurasia and having no access to the world ocean, China’s transcontinental initiatives provide new prospects and opportunities.

Due to the development of its transit potential, Kazakhstan seeks to occupy its geo-economic niche as a major bridge between the economic growth poles of Asia, Europe and the Middle East, where more than 60% of world GDP is concentrated today. In turn, transit routes running through the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan open up for China quick access to the markets of Europe, the Middle East and the CIS, creating economic corridors “China – Central Asia – West Asia” and “China-Indochina”. By the way, about 50% of transit flows between China and Europe go through the territory of Kazakhstan today. But we should not slow down, because the competition in this promising market is great. These above-mentioned tasks, in general, are answered by the pairing of the two programs.

Within the framework of the State program “Nurly Zhol”, promising infrastructure projects have been implemented. Among them: the dry port and infrastructure at the FEZ “Khorgos-Eastern Gate”, the Kazakhstan part of the International Transit Corridor “Western Europe – Western China”, the new railway corridor “Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran” with a total length of about 900 km. All of them are aimed at the socio-economic development of our country, strengthening interregional ties within Kazakhstan and integration into international transport flows. It can be said that Kazakhstan has become a key partner of China in the development of OPOP.

– What issues are on the agenda of the first visit of President K. K. Tokayev to the People’s Republic of China? What will be the program of the visit and what are your expectations from the upcoming meetings?

– We attach great importance to the high-quality substantive preparation of the first state visit of President K. K. Tokayev to the People’s Republic of China. It is very symbolic that this visit will take place at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The relevance of the visit is due to the need to find new ways to further strengthen the Kazakh-Chinese comprehensive strategic partnership. The program of the state visit is very rich. Talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping are planned.

Following their results, it is planned to sign a Joint statement on the development of a comprehensive strategic partnership at a new stage, which already implies updating the bilateral agenda and priorities of bilateral relations. Meetings with Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu are also expected. The Head of State plans to take part in the sixth meeting of the Kazakh-Chinese Business Council. The program of the stay also includes a speech at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

An important point of the working schedule of the Head of State during the visit will be the city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. There, in particular, the President is scheduled to meet with the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alibaba Group Jack Ma, as well as visit the company Hikvision. In addition, an agreement on the transfer of a supercomputer for big data processing to the Kazakh side will be signed during the visit. About ten documents will also be signed, including in the field of agricultural exports, cooperation in emergency situations, IT technologies, electronic commerce, and bilateral commercial agreements.

In general, the upcoming visit of the Head of State to China meets the long-term strategic interests of Kazakhstan. Our foreign policy should bring practical benefits to the people, promote the creation of new growth points and jobs, promote the welfare of Kazakhstanis: this is the principled position of the Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.


Number of shows: 1134