(Interview of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K.K. Tokayev to Xinhua News Agency).


Question: The diplomacy of heads of state guides the confident development of Chinese-Kazakh relations. In September 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping chose Kazakhstan as the first stop on his first overseas trip since the Covid-19 pandemic. In recent years, you have made numerous visits to China or visited China to participate in important events. You have had many casual conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Chinese. Could you tell us what topics you most often discussed with him? Which episodes from your contacts with Xi Jinping do you particularly remember? How do you assess the prospects for the development of relations between China and Kazakhstan?


Answer: Kazakhstan highly values its close partnership with the People’s Republic of China. Our relationship is based on strong bonds of friendship, shared history and good neighborliness.

In September 2022, together with my friend the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, during his state visit to Kazakhstan, we launched a new “Golden 30th anniversary” of bilateral cooperation.

It is gratifying that the first foreign visit of the Chinese leader after the pandemic took place in Astana. This once again confirms the priority of relations with Kazakhstan in Beijing’s foreign policy.

In turn, in recent years I have visited China three times, including to participate in such important events as the “Central Asia – China” summit /May 2023, Xi’an/, the third High-Level Forum “One Belt, One Road” /October 2023, Beijing/ and Boao Asian Forum /March 2024, Hainan Prov/.

Of course, the development of personal contacts gives an important impetus to deepening our cooperation and opening new horizons in relations between the two states.

The truly friendly and trusting relationships that have developed between us over the years contribute to the achievement of new great goals.

I remember with great warmth our meetings with the esteemed President Xi Jinping. In an open and trusting atmosphere, we discuss current issues and prospects for strengthening our eternal comprehensive strategic partnership, and exchange opinions on the situation in the world.

Indeed, sometimes in conversations I switch to Chinese in order to convey particularly significant points to my colleague as accurately as possible or to discuss interesting topics in everyday life.

The most vivid memories of my student life and the beginning of my diplomatic career connect me with China. In total, I lived in China for 8 years. During this time, I deeply immersed myself in the study of Chinese culture, history, language and customs, and learned about the richness and diversity of Chinese cuisine.

Of particular interest to me is the pragmatic, results-oriented approach to education and traditional values such as respect for elders, diligence and hard work. All this also affects the social atmosphere that has developed in modern China.

This experience allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the uniqueness of Chinese society and develop cross-cultural skills. Understanding the Chinese mentality and civilization also provides a certain advantage in understanding the significance of Kazakh-Chinese relations in the current geopolitical conditions.

Given the rapidly changing trends both in the world and in China itself, I regularly read books in Chinese to maintain my language skills, as well as to keep abreast of the latest trends in China’s political and socio-economic development.

President Xi Jinping is undoubtedly an outstanding leader and a wise politician. He has broad support from the Chinese people. I am confident that thanks to his far-sighted policies, the country will achieve tremendous growth and significantly strengthen its authority in the international arena.

As the Kazakh proverb says, “A river does not flow without a bed, a people cannot exist without a leader” or “ el agasyz bolmaidy, su sagasyz bolmaidy».

Under the wise leadership of its leader, China is consistently moving towards achieving its long-term goals of reviving the Chinese nation and turning the Celestial Empire into the largest power in the world. I am confident that your country will reach even greater heights in its development and fully realize the “Chinese Dream”.

Intensive mutual visits at the highest level indicate a close political dialogue between our countries. Over the past year alone, we have reached a number of important agreements, including the mutual introduction of a visa-free regime, the construction of a third railway checkpoint, the mutual establishment of cultural centers, declaring 2024 the Year of Tourism of Kazakhstan in China, the opening of the “Lu Ban Workshop” and branches of leading Chinese universities In Kazakhstan.

The PRC has consistently maintained its position as Kazakhstan’s leading trade and investment partner. Over more than 30 years of bilateral relations, the volume of trade between the countries has increased 100 times, reaching $41 billion in 2023, which is a historical record.

At the end of last year, China entered the top four largest foreign investors in Kazakhstan, investing about $2 billion in direct investment in 2023, which is an increase of 16.4 percent. higher than in 2022. In general, the total volume of Chinese investments in the economy of Kazakhstan amounted to more than $25 billion.

There are about 4,700 Kazakh-Chinese enterprises operating in our country. In addition, we strive to expand our joint activities in the financial sector, taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the Astana International Financial Centre. Today, about 2,800 companies from 78 countries are registered on its platform, a tenth of them are from China.

Close interaction has been established within the framework of such international structures as the UN, SCO, CICA, in the “Central Asia – China” format, etc. We have similar positions on many pressing issues of the global and regional agenda.

Kazakhstan fully supports the Chinese mega-project “One Belt, One Road” and is ready to continue active participation in the further integration of our national strategies.

I would like to emphasize: we are setting ourselves ambitious plans to further deepen our multifaceted relations with China. All necessary prerequisites and conditions are created for this. I am sure, given the current high growth dynamics of our interaction, the goal of achieving mutual trade turnover of up to $100 billion is quite achievable.

Thus, in a short period of time after the pandemic, we were able not only to restore, but also to successfully bring our relations to a higher level of effective cooperation in all areas. And we do not intend to stop there. As Chinese wisdom says, “the happiness of the next century is built in this century”.

We look forward to President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Astana early this month. I am confident that the upcoming negotiations will benefit our peoples, and the agreements reached will give a powerful impetus to interstate relations, determine new prospects for interaction and open another successful page of the Kazakh-Chinese eternal comprehensive strategic partnership.


Question: China-Kazakhstan relations of eternal comprehensive strategic partnership are currently at the highest level in history. Practical cooperation is being carried out in various fields, including economics and trade, and the joint construction of “One Belt, One Road” is rapidly developing, which constantly brings new results. How do you assess the continuous deepening of mutually beneficial practical cooperation between the two countries? In what areas do you think Kazakhstan and China should continue to deepen their cooperation in the future?


Answer: Considering the powerful foundation that we have laid over 32 years of successful bilateral cooperation, Kazakhstan is ready to make every effort to further strengthen good neighborly relations, intensify exchanges, and deepen practical interaction.

Therefore, it is extremely important at this stage to work together in five areas:

Deepening cooperation in the investment field. Particular attention should be paid to such areas as agriculture, new energy, and the automotive industry. There is also a need to focus on industrialization and production of high value-added products.

Increasing trade turnover between our countries, including diversifying the trade structure and increasing the range of goods. Modern tools should be used, in particular e-commerce and electronic trading platforms.

2024 is an important year for further advancement of the global Belt and Road Initiative. It marks the beginning of the next 10th anniversary of the initiative. It is especially important for us to strengthen the role of Kazakhstan as a key and indispensable participant in this mega-initiative, as well as a reliable Eurasian transport hub and the central logistics hub of the BRI.

At the same time, our maximum focus will be on the active use of the capabilities of the Lianyungang port, the dry port in Xi’an and the Khorgos – Eastern Gate SEZ.

Expanding transport cooperation between the two countries. Today, the construction of second tracks on the Dostyk- Moyynty railway section continues. In addition, the construction of the 3rd railway checkpoint is scheduled to begin on our common border.

Activation of multifaceted interaction in the cultural and humanitarian sphere. I am confident that the visa-free practice we have established, the mutual opening of cultural centers, “Lu Ban Workshops”, branches of universities, as well as the constant work to increase flights will be important steps towards further strengthening mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples.

It is safe to say that our countries are at the origins of great achievements and victories, which will undoubtedly unite us on the path to a bright future within the framework of the new “Golden 30th anniversary” of relations between Kazakhstan and China.


Question: You recently visited China to participate in the Boao Asian Forum and sent a letter to the participants in the opening ceremony of the Year of Tourism of Kazakhstan in China. Our countries have been friendly neighbors for many generations. What hopes do you have for strengthening tourism cooperation between the two countries? How important, in your opinion, are humanitarian exchanges for strengthening good neighborliness, friendship and bilateral relations?


Answer: Of course, cultural and humanitarian cooperation plays an important role in strengthening bilateral ties and friendship between the peoples of our countries.

I would like to note that since the establishment of diplomatic relations, this direction has always been active. Interaction in such areas as education, culture, tourism, science and technology is invariably developing in an upward direction.

In March of this year, the opening ceremony of the Year of Tourism of Kazakhstan in China took place in Beijing. A start has been made to promote tourism contacts between our countries. On the eve of the ceremony, a forum on tourism and investment was held in the Chinese capital, and a tourism fair was also organized, at which all regions of Kazakhstan were represented.

In general, under the auspices of the Year of Tourism, more than 35 different events are planned to be held in cities and provinces of the PRC aimed at introducing the sights, rich culture and customs of our country. We are ready, together with China, to continue the momentum.

An additional impetus for humanitarian cooperation between countries will be given by the mutual establishment of cultural centers of Kazakhstan and China. I am convinced that these important points of attraction will become strong bridges of friendship between our peoples.

In February of this year, I visited the first “Lu Ban Workshop”, created on the basis of the East Kazakhstan Technical University named after. D. Serikbaeva. I was impressed by the modern laboratories for training highly qualified technical and engineering personnel for the automotive industry in Kazakhstan.

We are very interested in expanding the geography of such laboratories in our country. I think that the trained specialists will contribute to the effective implementation of joint projects.

Another evidence of our fruitful cooperation in the field of higher education is the opening of a branch of the Northwestern Polytechnic University on the basis of the Kazakh National University named after al-Farabi in Almaty.

We are ready to create favorable conditions for opening branches of leading technical universities in China in our country.


Question: What do you think about the initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping to form a community with a shared future for humanity? What results of Chinese-Kazakh cooperation have been achieved within the framework of this initiative?


Answer: It should be stated that the modern world, which has entered a period of profound transformation, is characterized by increased turbulence and growing contradictions. Unfortunately, the traditional architecture of international security is undergoing significant changes, and the level of trust between countries is declining.

In these conditions, humanity really needs to develop consolidated, effective and adequate response measures to ensure global security and global economic growth.

In this context, Kazakhstan highly appreciates Chairman Xi Jinping’s idea of a community with a common destiny for mankindwhich in the current international situation is gaining new relevance and is designed to promote the formation of an equal and multipolar world.

I am confident that Chinese initiatives on global development, global security and global civilization will make a huge contribution to ensuring global security and the implementation of sustainable development goals.


Question: Please tell us about how Kazakhstan, as the current chairman of the SCO, is working to promote cooperation within the Organization in various fields? Could you also tell us about the priorities and plans of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the SCO? What do you think about the positive and unique role of the SCO in the current international situation? How to further develop the “Shanghai spirit” and contribute to building a community with a common destiny for the SCO?


Answer: Let me start by saying that I personally have a special relationship with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. I had the opportunity to be present at its creation in April 1996, to participate in negotiations and preparation of documents. At the dawn of their formation, the Shanghai Five showed their ambition and formed around a key goal that remains to this day – increasing confidence-building measures.

It is very symbolic that on July 3 of this year, after a little more than a quarter of a century, the meeting of the Shanghai extended family returns to Kazakhstan again. Over the years, the composition of the Shanghai Five has doubled, and from the summit in Astana the Organization will begin to work in the format of a full- fledged Shanghai Ten.

I would like to especially emphasize that the chairmanship of the SCO is a very important and at the same time very responsible mission. As one of the founders of the Organization and an active supporter of the development of multilateral dialogue, Kazakhstan considers the Organization as a permanent priority in its balanced foreign policy.

It was these motives that guided us when developing the principles and broad agenda of our chairmanship. Our efforts will be aimed at developing common approaches to solving security problems, strengthening trade and economic cooperation, promoting environmental protection and strengthening the ties of friendship between our peoples.

An important task is to further strengthen the international authority of the Organization by expanding its contacts with major international and regional structures. More than 150 events have already been held: from New York to Beijing, from Nairobi to Moscow. Thus, the circle of SCO partners has expanded, and the legal framework will be replenished with a number of documents.

The culmination of our chairmanship will be the summit in Astana, to which we are paying increased attention. We expect strategically important decisions to be made in the area of further improvement of the SCO. The main directions of interaction for the medium term will be determined, and initiatives will be developed to adequately and timely respond to current challenges and threats.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all SCO member states for supporting the initiatives of the Kazakh chairmanship, solidarity with our proposals and joint work in the wake of the priorities we presented.

We expect that the final decisions of the summit will fully embody the fundamental principles of the “Shanghai Spirit” – mutual trust, friendship, mutual benefit and consideration of each other’s interests.

We are convinced that the SCO should not remain aloof from global processes. That is why Kazakhstan proposed to jointly develop the SCO Initiative On World Unity for a Just Peace and Harmony”.

I am grateful that this initiative has been highly appreciated and received the support of all Member States. Participants in the summit in Astana will appeal to the international community to begin an honest and open global dialogue, accept a new security paradigm, create a fair economic environment and make the necessary efforts to protect the cleanliness of the planet.

At the initiative of Kazakhstan, 2024 has been declared the SCO Year of Ecology. International documents in the field of ecology, protection of natural areas, ecotourism, and the fight against climate change have been developed and are planned for adoption.

Wide public attention was attracted by the special SCO-UN High-level event “One Planet, One Future: Joining Efforts for Environmental Sustainability”, held at the initiative of Kazakhstan in February this year on the sidelines of the 6th session of the UN Environment Assembly. As a result, relations between the SCO and UNEP (the main UN body in the field of the environment) were established, and it is planned to sign an Agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on cooperation in the field of environmental protection. I am confident that the SCO is capable of effectively responding to environmental problems and climate change.

Speaking about the community of a common destiny for humanity, I would like to emphasize that this innovative concept attracted the attention of the entire world community and formed the basis for the formation of a new model of international relations. Its goal is to establish effective mutually beneficial cooperation and trusting dialogue, which is so lacking in modern interstate relations.

In this regard, the idea of a community with a common destiny for humanity and the principles of the Shanghai spiritare consonant and could harmoniously complement each other. This is especially true of the two concepts’ aspirations for sustainable development, shared prosperity, openness and inclusiveness.

I am confident that by promoting these fateful concepts within multilateral structures and at the bilateral level, the world community is able to make them the norm in international relations.