Chen Yan

The 9th meeting of the leaders of the BRICS countries was held in early September in the south of China in Xiamen. It caused a significant resonance in the circles of the international community and, in particular, specialists. Gulnar Shaimergenova, Director of the Center for the Study of China in Kazakhstan, gave an interview to a correspondent of our magazine, answered questions and expressed her opinion on various aspects of the BRICS mechanism, interaction between China and Kazakhstan, as well as trends in the development of the BRICS+ model, etc.

Correspondent: How do you feel about the Chinese policy of governing the country in recent years, as well as about the experience, development and changes in various spheres of China?

Expert: I am studying the concept of China’s development with interest. This is exactly what our Center is doing. In short, China was able to show a different international reality based on Eastern principles. This is, as I call it, collective leadership without a clear decision-making center. In Beijing, they like to call this coordination.

Anyway, this is a model of a network organization of international cooperation, which makes it more stable and less conflict-prone. Making joint decisions depends less on the size of the state than in the usual system of international relations, where your voice and rights depend on your GDP and military-power capabilities. The Chinese or Eastern approach is clearly visible on the example of the SCO, on the example of BRICS and the well-known initiative “One Belt, One Road”.

These values reflect the mentality of the Chinese managerial elite, which manages collectively and determines the internal structure of public administration. From a political point of view, we can say to some extent that China has demonstrated a new form of democratic structure.

And we see that this management model has a very positive impact on the growth rates of the People’s Republic of China. China is not an easy country with its own problems and challenges, but over the past few decades, the Chinese people have been able to form their own management model and prove its productivity to the world. As far as I remember, in 1990, China’s contribution to world GDP was a little more than 2%, today it is more than 17%! And this is in just three decades. According to forecasts, in the next decade, China is preparing to become the number one global economy.

I think that the principles of the implementation of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative are a very good and flexible model for the further development of this global association. The New Silk Road is a good format for mutually beneficial cooperation, which allows us to organically combine a variety of interests, spheres, technologies and resources. Four years of implementation of the strategic initiative have well demonstrated this phenomenon of “One Belt, one Road”.

Correspondent: China has put forward a proposal to expand the” circle of friends “of the BRICS, to develop the “BRICS+” model for dialogue and cooperation, what do you think about this? In your opinion, what will the BRICS+ model be aimed at, what role will it play?

Expert: This is a very timely proposal. I think that the implementation of this format of cooperation will allow the BRICS to achieve their goals. After all, all the countries of this association, although they are major international players, are located in different regions of the planet. This, on the one hand, complicates interaction, and on the other hand, gives an opportunity for trans-regional cooperation.

All the BRICS countries are working closely with their regional environment, which can and should be involved in various economic projects that are currently being discussed at this international platform. Thus, we can see the practical content of the idea of Eastern globalization, the vision of which is successfully promoted by the PRC. In addition, it will enable the broad implementation of the model of collective leadership, on the basis of which BRICS is successfully developing today. In addition, it will provide an opportunity for other countries to participate in international processes. This will to some extent strengthen their voice in global governance.

For its part, Kazakhstan is very interested in participating in the BRICS+ format dialogue, as this will allow us to deepen cooperation with our regional partners China, Russia and India, as well as expand our economic opportunities in other regions of the world.

Correspondent: What are the innovations of the BRICS mechanism compared to other mechanisms of multilateral cooperation? What do you think is the most significant result of BRICS cooperation over the past ten years?

Expert: As an innovation mechanism, we can single out equality of dialogue and collective coordination of decisions made. This is something that is now actually lost in the traditional structures of international dialogue. If BRICS continues to follow this model of cooperation, it will be a great success. There are a lot of results in BRICS, but I believe that the preservation of the dialogue platform and its consistent development is the key achievement. This is more than obvious against the background of the difficult processes that we see in international relations today.

Correspondent: How do you assess the prospects of the BRICS mechanism? In the next 10 years, in what areas do you really hope that cooperation between the BRICS countries will achieve breakthroughs?

Expert: As I have already said, the prospects for BRICS will be very optimistic if all countries manage to maintain equality in the voices and dialogue of all countries. Including if they can transfer this format to the BRICS+model.

At the Center for the Study of China, we believe that the exchange of technological developments or the creation of joint technology brands can become a very promising direction. All countries – China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa-all have their own good achievements in various fields of technology, for example, information. These can be the latest high-performance computers or mobile communication tools. There are many examples.

Combining all countries with their scientific and technical capabilities and creating their own promising products with common standards could spread in their huge market. Collectively, it would be possible to create serious competition for existing Western brands and developments. Now the whole world is a consumer of what is invented in the West, but produced in the East. Perhaps the BRICS could change this system through competitive products, in the West they like market competition.

The BRICS opportunities also lie in other areas, for example, the food market. These countries could become a pillar of international food security, especially if we take into account the advanced agricultural technologies of Brazil, South Africa and China with the territorial and climatic resources of Russia. Our country, Kazakhstan, could also become a strong BRICS partner in this area.

Correspondent: How will the mechanism of cooperation between the BRICS countries influence and promote the reform of the global order, how to strengthen its right to vote and influence in the international arena?

Expert: BRICS demonstrates the possibility and prospects of globalization of a new format, which is very different from the well-known Western vision. I believe that the key advantages of BRICS are unity and mutual support. Such values are promoted by our country, Kazakhstan, which could also become a part of this global association in the future. The ideas of the BRICS are very well in tune with the ideas that our country is promoting in the international arena.

I am sure that the implementation of the voiced proposal for the development of the BRICS+ dialogue format will be a good opportunity to strengthen the right to vote of the association and increase its influence in international affairs. In our Center for the Study of China, we intend to study this issue in detail and will definitely share our best practices with a wide audience.

Correspondent: This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Kazakhstan, how do you assess the current relations between the two countries? What results have been achieved since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries? In your opinion, in which areas of cooperation between China and Kazakhstan there are bright moments?

Expert: I would like to give an example of the statement of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, which he made in Beijing during his speech at the “One Belt, One Road” Forum. The Head of our state called the Kazakh-Chinese relations exemplary. We managed to use the advantages of both sides and bring our relations to a truly strategic level.

At our Center for the Study of China, we believe that first of all, we have built a constructive dialogue that is based on mutual respect and support. We are also changing the geo-economy of Eurasia through the implementation of the successful “One Belt, One Road” initiative, we have involved dozens of countries in cooperation. Due to a well-thought-out infrastructure policy, we have managed to increase the efficiency of land-based trade communications and really build a continental bridge between East and West.

China has opened the Pacific Ocean and the entire Asian market for Kazakhstan by creating a joint terminal in the port of Lianyungang. Kazakhstan has become the only country that has invested several billion dollars in the “Bright Path” infrastructure program and has fully supported China’s efforts to develop the Silk Road. Kazakhstan and China became the first countries to coordinate their development policies within the framework of the “Bright Path” program and the Silk Road Economic Belt. Now the two countries are strengthening cooperation in agriculture and manufacturing. These are very good examples of cooperation.

Correspondent: What is the perspective of relations between the two countries? Against the background of the combination of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and the new economic policy “Bright Path”, what measures should be taken to make business cooperation and mutual benefits even better realized?

Expert: I think it is necessary to invest more in the development of specific projects along the “One Belt, One Road” line. In particular, it is important to boldly use the funds of the Silk Road Fund in the development of agriculture in Kazakhstan, the implementation of projects in the manufacturing industry. Over the years, Kazakhstan has already shown well that it has become a very reliable friend and partner for a dynamically growing China. It is important for China to invest more actively in the Kazakh economy and develop technology transfer. After all, the stronger Kazakhstan becomes economically, the more opportunities for the implementation of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative will be available to the People’s Republic of China.

Thank you for the interview. 


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