Ambassador of the People‘s Republic of China in the Republic of Kazakhstan, ZHANG XIAO gave a joint interview to Chinese and Kazakh media.


– Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, for agreeing to our interview. As we know, President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Kazakhstan in early July and will take part in the Astana SCO summit. Mr. Ambassador, can you tell us about the importance of the upcoming visit?


– At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Kazakhstan in early July and take part in the Astana summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s second visit to Kazakhstan in less than two years. Kazakhstan is the only country that the Chinese leader is visiting for the second time after the COVID-19 pandemic. All this fully reflects the high level and special nature of Chinese-Kazakh relations.

During their visit to Kazakhstan, the two heads of state will have an in-depth exchange of views on China-Kazakhstan relations, cooperation in various fields, as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest, in order to achieve new progress in the development of a permanent comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Kazakhstan. During the SCO summit in Astana, the President of the People’s Republic of China will hold in-depth discussions with the leaders of other member states on issues related to the current situation in the international arena and in the region, as well as promoting the building of a closer community with a shared destiny for the SCO.

President Xi Jinping’s visit aims to strengthen traditional friendship, good neighborliness, mutual trust in the political sphere, and plan to promote mutually beneficial cooperation and jointly build a better future. This is a visit of friendship and peace, cooperation and mutual benefit, which will give new impetus to promoting the development of China-Kazakhstan relations, stability and prosperity of the region, a visit that will bring more certainty and positive energy to the current turbulent world.


– Mr. Ambassador, Kazakhstan and China are friendly neighbors, how have relations between the two countries developed in recent years? What are your expectations from the prospects for the development of bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and China?


– China and Kazakhstan are good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good brothers, connected by common mountains and rivers. In the 32 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the interaction between the two countries has stood the test of vicissitudes in the international arena, it has constantly developed and accelerated.


Firstly, the leaders of the two countries set the direction of the diplomatic course. The leaders of the two countries have developed a good working relationship and personal friendship. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev visited China twice last year and once this year – in March he participated in the Boao Asian Forum. Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Kazakhstan for the second time after the epidemic. Such a frequent exchange of visits is a new record in bilateral relations. Under the leadership of the two heads of state, the mechanisms of China-Kazakhstan cooperation at all levels are working smoothly, cooperation in various fields continues to achieve new breakthroughs, constantly giving new impetus to bilateral relations.


Secondly, mutual trust in the political field continues to deepen. China and Kazakhstan firmly support each other on issues affecting each other’s core interests, including protecting sovereignty, security and development interests, and resolutely oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs and double standards. China firmly supports Kazakhstan in choosing a development path that suits its own national conditions, in implementing the «New Kazakhstan» development strategy.

Kazakhstan also firmly supports the one-China principle and supports China on issues affecting its core interests, including those related to Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Tibet. The two countries are taking practical steps to jointly explore the path of cooperation between different civilizations and different countries with different social systems, adhering to unity while maintaining differences and mutual learning.


Thirdly, mutually beneficial cooperation produces fruitful results. China has become Kazakhstan’s largest trading partner. Trade between China and Kazakhstan reached US$41 billion last year, up 32% year on year. And from January to May this year, it has already reached 17.6 billion US dollars and increased by 18% compared to the same period last year. As of April 30, of this year, the number of China-Europe trains passing through the Khorgos and Alashankou checkpoints of Xinjiang China on the border with Kazakhstan exceeded 5 thousand.

The Kazakh terminal began operating in the port of Xi’an, and the China-Kazakhstan logistics center operates uninterruptedly in Lianyungang, which play an important role in global transportation and trade, as well as in maintaining the stability of global supply chains. The parties have achieved fruitful results in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. Cooperation in areas such as automobile manufacturing, cross-border e-commerce, new energy sources, cultural exchanges and higher education continues to deepen, helping to take bilateral cooperation to new heights.


Fourthly, close coordination has been established in international affairs. China and Kazakhstan actively implement the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, actively promote the common values of all mankind, and work together to implement initiatives for global development, global security and global civilization. The two countries cooperate closely within the UN, SCO, CICA, China-Central Asia Cooperation Mechanism, practice true multilateralism, and jointly promote the development of the international governance system in a fairer and more reasonable direction.

China-Kazakhstan relations have entered a new golden 30th anniversary. In the face of new development challenges and new opportunities, China is willing to work with Kazakhstan to take President Xi Jinping’s visit as an opportunity to continue to make full use of the strategic guidance of heads of state diplomacy, strengthen strategic alignment and policy coordination, deepen mutual trust in the political field, promote joint high-quality construction of the «One Belt and One Road», work together to build a China-Kazakhstan community of shared destiny, characterized by eternal friendship, a high degree of mutual trust, common joys and sorrows, and contribute to promoting international and regional security, stability, development and prosperity.


– On July 3-4, Astana will host the 24th meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State. What role does the SCO play in the modern world as an important international organization? What kind of cooperation do Kazakhstan and China carry out in the SCO?


– In the 23 years since its founding, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has become a regional cooperation organization with the largest territory, the largest population in the world and enormous development potential, as well as a security barrier, a bridge of cooperation, ties of friendship and the power of constructiveness. For a long time, member states have actively adhered to the «Shanghai Spirit», which is characterized by mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for the diversity of civilization and the pursuit of common development, constantly deepening cooperation in political, economic, cultural and other fields. They have made important contributions to promoting regional security, stability, development and prosperity, created a new model of international relations based on mutual respect, fairness, win-win cooperation, and have become an important constructive force in Eurasia and in the international arena, playing an increasingly important role in creating international relations of a new type.

China and Kazakhstan are founding members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as active supporters, initiators and participants in the development of the SCO and cooperation in various fields.

The two countries are closely cooperating in promoting the development of the SCO, without forgetting its original mission, actively responding to developments and changes in the international situation and the cooperation needs of member states, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of trade, transport, energy, agriculture, science and technology , education, culture and other fields, promote the progressive and high-quality development of the joint construction of the «One Belt, One Road» in order to contribute to the SCO’s contribution to building a world in which lasting peace, universal security, common prosperity, openness and inclusiveness, purity and beauty reign .

Since the moment when the presidency of the SCO passed to the Kazakh side in July last year, it has been actively fulfilling its responsibilities and has done a lot of pragmatic and effective work to develop cooperation within the SCO in the political, security, trade, economic, energy, digital, environmental and humanitarian spheres. Kazakhstan has made its contribution to promoting the development of the SCO, improving the well-being of peoples and building a closer community with a common destiny for the SCO.

China, together with other member states, will continue to support the Kazakh side in fulfilling its responsibilities as the chairing country of the SCO and holding the summit in Astana, and also support the SCO in developing the «Shanghai Spirit», strengthening the mechanism and deepening cooperation in various fields, so that the SCO plays the most important role and a constructive role in promoting security, stability, development and prosperity in the region.


– The SCO is an important platform for the joint construction of the One Belt and One Road initiative. What role does it play in promoting high-quality joint construction of this initiative?


– As you said, the SCO is an important platform for the construction of «One Belt and One Road». In terms of core values, the Shanghai Spirit and the Silk Road Spirit have much in common. In terms of geographical location, the SCO member states are mainly partnering in the Belt and Road Initiative. From the point of view of cooperation, political, economic and humanitarian interaction within the SCO is highly consistent with the five priorities of the joint construction of the «One Belt and One Road».

In recent years, the topic of joint construction of «One Belt and One Road» has been included in the declarations of SCO summits and other documents, and the parties have closely coordinated policies on the joint construction of «One Belt, One Road». The SCO has already established a comprehensive security cooperation mechanism, including combating the «three forces of evil», transnational organized crime and combating drug trafficking, creating a strong security barrier for the joint construction of the «One Belt and One Road». The SCO member states are making efforts to cooperate in the field of science and technology, culture, education, tourism, sanitation, which also strengthens the social basis for the joint construction of the «One Belt and One Road».

I would like to especially note that the SCO’s practical cooperation not only promotes economic development and improves the living conditions of peoples, but also provides important support in continuously improving the quality of construction of the Belt and Road. For example, the SCO Agreement on Creating Favorable Conditions for International Road Transport creates important conditions for deepening regional ties and promoting the development of regional economic integration.

Multilateral trade and economic cooperation programs of the SCO member states increase the level of trade liberalization and facilitate the simplification of trade procedures in the region, stimulating the emergence of new trade formats. The SCO’s practical cooperation is constantly deepening, giving impetus to the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road.

The upcoming SCO summit in Astana will make it possible to develop new plans for the development of the organization and cooperation in various fields, as well as provide new opportunities for a more pragmatic and effective participation of the SCO in the high-quality construction of the «One Belt and One Road», thereby making a greater contribution of the SCO to security and stability and development of the region.


– In recent years, cultural exchanges between Kazakhstan and China have become increasingly closer, the agreement on a mutual visa-free regime between the two sides has officially entered into force, and the Kazakhstan Year of Tourism is in full swing in China. How do you assess exchanges and cooperation between Kazakhstan and China in the field of cultural exchanges? In the next stage, in what aspects should both sides further strengthen exchanges and cooperation?


– Interstate exchanges help bring peoples closer together; friendship of peoples is a source for the development of international relations.

China and Kazakhstan are connected by mountains and rivers, the destinies of the two countries are intertwined and interconnected, and humanitarian exchanges between the two countries have a long history. In the past 32 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the parties, which inherited the spirit of the Great Silk Road, continued to deepen traditional friendship, constantly expanding humanitarian exchanges, and achieved fruitful results of cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, culture, tourism, archeology, etc. This has played an important role in enriching the content of the permanent comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Kazakhstan and strengthening the public foundation of good neighborly relations between the two countries. In recent years, China and Kazakhstan have adopted a people-oriented approach, actively expanded exchange channels and enriched their content, and stimulated the development of humanitarian exchanges, achieving new successes. An agreement on mutual exemption from visa requirements between China and Kazakhstan came into force , making the movement of people more convenient.

The first high-level Chinese university in Central Asia began operating in Kazakhstan – the Kazakhstan branch of the Northwestern Polytechnic University of the People’s Republic of China. The first «Lu Ban Workshop» in Kazakhstan has opened at the East Kazakhstan Technical University, which helps fill the gaps in the field of vocational education in the two countries. The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, visited the «Lu Ban Worksho» and praised it highly. China has opened five Confucius Institutes in Kazakhstan, Kazakh youth actively participate in events such as the «Chinese anguage Bridge», «Chinese Language Summer Camp», Chinese Song Competition, etc.

The process of creating cultural centers of China and Kazakhstan on each other’s territory is progressing at an accelerated pace, which creates a new platform for expanding cultural exchanges. The Year of Tourism of Kazakhstan is being held in China, which gives new impetus to the development of cultural and tourism ties.

At the next stage, we are ready to cooperate with the Kazakh side to implement the consensus of the heads of the two states, continue to deepen exchanges and cooperation in the field of youth, media, universities, sports, cinema and television, museums and interaction between regions, create more effective and convenient platforms for humanitarian exchanges between the two countries to lay a stronger public foundation for the development of a permanent comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Kazakhstan. We all know that youth are the future and hope of the country and the nation, and the hope for the legacy and development of China-Kazakhstan relations lies with the youth of the two countries. I hope that the youth of China and Kazakhstan will take on the mission entrusted to them by time, strengthen exchanges, enhance mutual understanding, and make new contributions to the development and revival of their countries, as well as the continuous development of good neighborly and friendly relations between China and Kazakhstan.


Photo source: website of the Chinese Embassy in the Republic of Kazakhstan.