Foreign media on Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan seeks closer links both with Europe and within Central Asia, Yoon Suk Yeol to pay state visit to Kazakhstan

South Korean President to pay state visit to Kazakhstan
Photo credit: Akorda

From the recent news of Kazakhstan hosting the SCO Summit 2024 and seeking to strengthen ties with both Europe and Central Asia, to the President of South Korea's upcoming state visit to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan next week, Kazinform News Agency presents a weekly review of foreign mass media coverage about Kazakhstan.

Eureporter: Kazakhstan seeks closer links both with Europe and within Central Asia

In this article Eureporter informs that the deputy foreign ministers of Central Asian countries and the Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service have held a High-Level Political and Security Dialogue in Brussels. They discussed the joint road map for deepening ties between Central Asia and the EU, touching on transport, trade, economic, energy and climate relations, as well as common security challenges related to the situation in Afghanistan.

Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister, Roman Vassilenko, said afterwards that in today’s Central Asia, all five countries in the region “are all leaders, we work as a team”, although a Commission source identified Kazakhstan as the most active in building ties with the European Union, having implemented a comprehensive trade and cooperation agreement with the EU.

The Deputy Foreign Minister said ‘it is important that the expanding trade route across Kazakhstan not only links Europe and Asia but has branches running between north and south that include all Central Asian countries, so that none are left behind’.

The Trans-Caspian route, or the Middle Corridor, is pivotal not only for transit between China and Europe but also for trade between Central Asia and the EU.

“Kazakhstan has most of the rare earth metals that are essential to the green transition. It is important to process those natural resources in his country, making their shipment to Europe more economically viable by increasing their value,” says Roman Vassilenko.

The country also has significant agricultural potential, with only half of its arable land currently in use, focusing on sustainable production practices to meet EU organic standards, the articles notes.

Taneli Lahti, a senior EU official, emphasized the significant economic, political, and cultural potential of the European-Kazakh relationship. He noted that “an era of rapid realignment of global supply chains is giving Kazakhstan an opportunity and the EU’s Global Gateway initiative is not just about infrastructure but about people-to-people contact”.

Modern Diplomacy: Kazakhstan at the Helm: Advancing Regional Cooperation under the SCO Summit 2024

Modern Diplomacy reports that in July 2024, Kazakhstan will host the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, reflecting its significant contributions to the organization, especially during its chairmanship.

Kazakhstan’s notable achievements include the SCO Foreign Ministers Council Meeting in Astana, which resulted in twenty-two resolutions aimed at enhancing multilateral cooperation.

“This active engagement has paved the way to formulate a comprehensive agenda for the upcoming SCO summit, which is anticipated to garner global attention,” the article notes.

Kazakhstan's leadership under President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasizes regional cooperation and multilateralism, positioning Kazakhstan as a key intermediary in international relations.

The upcoming summit will focus on economic collaboration, regional security, counter-terrorism, and cultural exchange. Kazakhstan’s “Nurly Zhol” economic policy, complementing China’s Belt and Road Initiative, aims to enhance regional infrastructure and connectivity, fostering economic integration.

Security discussions will likely continue Kazakhstan's efforts in combating terrorism and extremism. “Kazakhstan, with its experience in promoting regional security, is well-placed to lead discussions on enhancing the SCO’s capabilities in this area. The summit will likely see a reaffirmation of the commitment to collective security and the development of new strategies to address emerging threats,” the article quotes.

Overall, Kazakhstan’s hosting of the SCO Summit 2024 represents a significant milestone in regional cooperation. “Previous SCO summits have influenced geopolitical strategies. Therefore, it is essential to achieve fair agreements and establish policies on pressing safety issues like water security, food security, and combating extremism in the region. As Kazakhstan leads the way, the summit is poised to enhance the SCO’s role in promoting peace, stability, and development in Eurasia,” the article concludes.

Yonhap News Agency: Yoon to pay state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan next week

Yonhap News Agency reports that the President of South Korea Yoon Suk Yeol will pay state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan next week.

Yoon will begin his six-day journey on Monday, joined by First Lady Kim Keon Hee, visiting the three Central Asian countries until June 15, as stated by Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo.

“Central Asia, which was the center of the ancient Silk Road, is a strategic point connecting Europe and Asia,” Kim said during a press briefing. “The strategic importance is growing further as the global polycrisis spreads due to various factors”.

The Korean Times: Korea-Kazakhstan summit to highlight political dialogue, commercial investment cooperation

The Korean Times reports that the upcoming summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Astana, Kazakhstan on June 12 is drawing attention. Kazakh Ambassador to Korea Nurgali Arystanov gave an interview, where he shared detailed information about the importance, agenda, and possible results of the important meeting.

“Kazakhstan and Korea are enjoying a very friendly relationship with an enhanced strategic partnership at the highest level,” Arystanov said. “We share this level of cooperation with only a few countries and Korea is one of our most important strategic partners.”

The summit's agenda will focus on three main areas: political dialogue, economic and commercial investment cooperation and people-to-people ties.

The summit will provide a platform to enhance diplomatic relations and explore new avenues for cooperation on regional and global issues. The C5+K platform, which facilitates dialogue between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Korea, will be a key topic of discussion.

The summit will aim to identify new opportunities for commercial and investment partnerships. The discussion will also touch on expanding trade, with an emphasis on diversifying the range of Kazakh products in the Korean market.

“We will discuss the C5+K platform for Central Asia-Korea dialogue, major economic projects like Hyundai's car plant and cultural exchanges, including the increasing popularity of Korean street food and K-pop in Kazakhstan,” Arystanov said.

Economic cooperation stands as a cornerstone of the Korean-Kazakh partnership. Trade turnover between the two countries reached an impressive $6 billion last year, marking a significant milestone.

“Korea is Kazakhstan's fourth-largest trade partner and the fifth-largest foreign investor," Arystanov said. “So big companies like Kia, Samsung, Hyundai, Shinhan Bank and many others have opened their facilities in Kazakhstan”.

In addition, the ambassador underscored the potential for increased Korean investments in Kazakhstan, particularly in high-tech and infrastructure projects.

“We are building the Middle Corridor connecting Europe with Asia, and we need investments in green projects, waste management and smart water resource management,” he said. The Middle Corridor, a major infrastructure project, aims to create a seamless trade route between Europe and Asia, offering opportunities for Korean investors.

Bloomberg: Glencore Is Said to Weigh Selling Stake in Kazakh Miner Kazzinc

According to Bloomberg, Swiss company Glencore Plc is considering selling its 70% stake in mining company Kazzinc to perspective buyers in China.

Glencore is also in the process of selling the Kazzinc-operated Vasilkovskoye gold mine. The previous deal to sell the asset was canceled more than seven years ago.

“The gold mine and Kazzinc’s core zinc operations could be sold to separate buyers or a single party. Deliberations are preliminary and may not lead to a transaction,” the article writes.

The publication notes that Glencore Plc's 70% stake could be valued at several billion dollars. It further explains that Glencore Chief Executive Officer Gary Nagle is continuing his predecessor's strategy of simplifying the business by selling smaller or more complex assets. The company has already sold its zinc assets in Peru and some of its smaller copper operations.

According to Bloomberg, zinc prices have risen this year due to restrictions on mining, but long-term demand for the metal may decline due to “limited use of zinc in fast-growing industries such as renewable energy and electric vehicles, where demand for other metals such as copper and aluminum are growing rapidly.”

Wanderlust Magazine: Kazakhstan

The Katon-Karagay district in Eastern Kazakhstan has been added to the Travel Green List of “green” tourist destinations by the British magazine Wanderlust.

In Asia, the list features projects like cultural outreach centers in Japan, a railway nature reserve in Singapore, and rural tourism development in Kazakhstan, all recognized for their sustainable tourism efforts.

“Five years ago, residents of the Katon-Karagay district – a sweep of lonely steppe, mountains and forests in far eastern Kazakhstan – faced a dilemma. Though home to the country’s largest national park and around 275 bird species, its 48 villages attracted few visitors, and there was little work available. As a result, its population had almost halved since the turn of the century, many residents having moved to cities in search of employment,” the publication notes.

The British editors praised the Sustainable Rural Development Fund, established in 2019, for enhancing the quality of life in three remote regions, including Katon-Karagay. Initiatives include training hotel operators, the establishment of a hospitality school, support for hiking trails, installation of road signs, and financing tourist information centers. These efforts have helped build a sustainable tourism community and enhanced the visitor experience in the region.

At the ITB Berlin 2024 international tourism exhibition, the public foundation “Katon-Karagay for Sustainable Development” from East Kazakhstan was recognized in the “Top 100 Sustainable Tourism Destinations” list and won the “Thriving Communities” category.

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