What will the President of Kazakhstan and the President of the People’s Republic of China discuss - the Ambassador of China to Kazakhstan

Zhang Xiao
Photo credit: Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan

In connection with the upcoming state visit of the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping to the Republic of Kazakhstan, a correspondent of the Kazinform News Agency spoke with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Kazakhstan - Zhang Xiao.

Mr. Ambassador, what main issues will be discussed during the upcoming state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Kazakhstan?

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Kemeluly Tokayev, Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in Kazakhstan on a state visit in early July and will take part in the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which will be held in Astana. During the visit, the leaders of Kazakhstan and China will discuss issues of bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields. They will also exchange views on common international and regional issues of concern.

The first is deepening mutual political trust. The visit of President Xi Jinping fully demonstrates the special and important place of the relationship between the two countries in China's foreign policy. The leaders of the two countries, continuing their traditional mutual friendship, deepening mutual political trust, will create conditions for creating a community that supports each other, having a common future that will continue in subsequent generations.

The second is the development of practical cooperation. Now China has become Kazakhstan's largest trading partner. In January-May of this year, the volume of trade between the parties reached 17.62 billion US dollars and increased by 18% compared to the same period last year. New industries such as automotive, cross-border e-commerce and new energy development have begun to see collaborations that have a great future.

Third is the expansion of cultural and humanitarian ties. Both countries have implemented visa concession policies. Along with this, the Chinese “Luban Workshop” was successfully used in Kazakhstan. These projects will further strengthen the good foundation of relations between the peoples of the two countries.

Fourth, strengthening international cooperation. Kazakhstan and China are jointly actively implementing the “Concept of a community with a shared future for mankind.” Promote the initiative to make global development, global security and global civilization initiatives a reality. At the same time, both countries categorically opposed unilateralism and hegemonism. During this visit, the leaders of the countries will comprehensively exchange views on international and regional situations, intensify coordination and cooperation between the two countries in international affairs, and will make even greater “China and Kazakhstan's contribution” to building a governance system of fair and logical global governance.

During his visit to Kazakhstan, President Xi Jinping will also take part in the SCO Summit in Astana. The Chinese leadership will make an even greater contribution to discussing the current international and regional situation and the development of the SCO with other member states, achieving consensus on cooperation, creating a close “SCO community with a common future,” as well as regional stability and the development of “SCO energy.”

After the agreement on a mutual visa-free regime between China and Kazakhstan came into force, it became more convenient to maintain ties between citizens of the two countries, and economic and trade relations expanded. What do you think about it?

There are good neighborly and friendly relations between Kazakhstan and China that have a long history. During the ancient Silk Road era, China established close ties with Central Asia, including Kazakhstan. For thousands of years, both sides learned from each other, communicated and, one might say, wrote an important chapter that cannot remain unaccounted for on the path of human development.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, good neighborly and friendly relations have been continuously deepening. Several innovations have been introduced that have an impact on cultural and humanitarian relations. Exchange and cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, culture, tourism, youth and others are constantly strengthening. The implementation of a visa-free policy between the two countries facilitates the movement of people and has increased opportunities for the development of business ties and tourism. Kazakhstan has successfully opened a Consulate General in the Chinese city of Xi'an, and China intends to open a Consulate General in Aktobe. This makes it possible to improve the relationship between the two countries. New routes are constantly opening between major cities of China and Kazakhstan, coordination is taking place regarding the infrastructure of border ports, rules and standards, and modern and profitable destinations are being developed.

The increase in passenger traffic has given a strong impetus to the development of economic ties and trade between China and Kazakhstan.

Firstly, it strengthens ties between enterprises and increases their viability. The number of enterprises in the two countries is increasing every day, this gives a new impetus to the exchange of experience, conducting business negotiations, signing agreements, transporting goods and establishing direct connections in other areas, strengthening and developing cooperation.

Secondly, the number of jobs increases, which is beneficial for the well-being of the population of the two countries. Sino-Kazakh cooperation projects have created many jobs and increased economic growth.

Thirdly, the development of trade and economic cooperation. Last year, trade between the two countries reached $41 billion, with China becoming Kazakhstan's largest trading partner.

In the current situation of global economic decline, the intensive development of trade and economic relations between China and Kazakhstan has opened the way for the successful and stable development of the two countries.

Thanks to the visit of President Xi Jinping to Kazakhstan, mutual coordination in the policies of the two countries will strengthen, more projects useful for the peoples will be implemented, and cultural and humanitarian ties will develop.

In what areas do Chinese investors work predominantly in Kazakhstan? What areas of cooperation between the two countries are most promising?

Strong economic ties and cooperation between Kazakhstan and China, as neighboring countries that complement each other, have great prospects. In recent years, the parties, thanks to mutual consultation and adherence to the principles of joint contribution and common benefit, have strengthened the special status and important role of Kazakhstan as the place where the Belt and Road initiative was first announced. The two countries continue to deepen large-scale cooperation in traditional areas such as energy, mining, oil and gas, chemical industry, and infrastructure. Kazakhstan and China are doing their best to increase the potential of such developing industries as new energy, artificial intelligence, digital economy and modern agriculture.

The successful results of practical cooperation not only gave new impetus to the economic development of the two countries and improved the well-being of the people, but also made the “Chinese-Kazakhstani contribution” to maintaining the stability and continuity of global production and delivery chains.

As of April 30, this year the number of freight trains passing through the ports of Xinjiang and Kazakhstan - Khorgos and Alashankou - exceeded 5,000. China is one of the five largest investors in Kazakhstan. As part of the Belt and Road initiative joint project, several demonstration projects have been implemented, such as the Shymkent Oil Refinery, Akmola Wind Power Project and the North Kazakhstan Regional Agricultural Park. Thus, an example of cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road initiative was shown at the global level.

In the future, China and Kazakhstan, according to the policies of the leaders of the two countries, will strengthen strategic alignment and coordination.

First, the path will be paved for innovation. Thanks to innovative technologies, the foundations of the “Belt and Road Initiative” will be laid, significant results will be achieved in the areas of Big Data, artificial intelligence and the digital economy, and intelligent digital cooperation will be established, aimed at the future and adapted to the new era.

Secondly, promoting the “green path”. Both sides, promoting the stable development of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, will deepen cooperation in the fields of energy, green infrastructure, green finance and others.

Third, opening the way for the development of ties - further strengthening infrastructure construction and regulations, promoting mutual agreement between the two sides on infrastructure construction plans. By unlocking the great potential of China-Europe rail freight and optimizing international rail connections, we will make an even greater contribution to ensuring the stability of global production and delivery chains.

Fourth, the opening of ways that benefit the peoples. By strengthening cooperation in the fields of education, medical care, agriculture, poverty alleviation and others, to ensure the maximum possible employment of the peoples of the two countries and provide them with the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurship and benefit from development.

China, together with Kazakhstan, will make efforts to usher in another “golden decade” of bilateral relations.

Zhang Xiao
Photo credit: Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan

How is cooperation between sister cities of Kazakhstan and China developing?

Cooperation between sister cities is an important part of cultural ties and cooperation between China and Kazakhstan. The city of Urumqi in Chinese Xinjiang and Kazakhstani city of Almaty became the first pair of sister cities in the two countries on November 17, 1993. They gave new impetus to the development of relations between China and Kazakhstan, played an important role in strengthening mutual understanding and friendship between peoples, and realized the exchange of urban resources and beneficial cooperation.

So far, the two countries have created 26 pairs of provinces and sister cities, including the capitals Beijing and Astana.

Since friendly relations were officially established in 2006, the two capitals have deepened mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, which has brought real benefits to both sides. The parties signed a memorandum of cooperation and encouraged each other to participate in important events. They opened direct flights to each other, interacted in the areas of urban planning and industry, and were able to show a “metropolitan example” of cooperation between the sister cities of the two countries.

Secondly, Chinese Xinjiang has established the best cooperation with friendly cities in Kazakhstan. As a core region of the Silk Road Economic Belt, Xinjiang is in the forefront of cooperation between China and Kazakhstan and has achieved remarkable results in cooperation with Kazakhstan's sister cities. Xinjiang and Kazakhstan have approved connections between 9 pairs of sister cities. In 2023, during the visit of the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Ma Xingrui, to Kazakhstan, sister-city relations were established with Almaty, East Kazakhstan regions and the Abai and Zhetysu regions, and corresponding agreements were signed. In particular, a memorandum “On mechanisms for coordinating local self-government of China-Kazakhstan Khorgos International Border Cooperation Center.”

Thirdly, cooperation between the sister cities of China and Kazakhstan is an indicator of the development of relations between the two countries at a high level. The establishment of a permanent comprehensive strategic partnership in recent years and the desire of both parties to jointly implement the Belt and Road initiative, as well as maintain good neighborly and friendly relations for subsequent generations, indicate a firm intention to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation.

2024 was declared the Year of Tourism of Kazakhstan in China. How many citizens of Kazakhstan have been able to visit China since the beginning of the year? Which regions and beautiful places of Kazakhstan are most attractive to the Chinese?

Cooperation in the field of tourism is an important part of cultural and humanitarian ties between China and Kazakhstan; it plays an important role in strengthening mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, as a bridge and connecting link for the development of ties between them. In addition, tourism makes a very large contribution to the development of the economies of both countries.

Thanks to the attention from the leaders of the two countries, the combined efforts of tourism departments and close cooperation in recent years in the field of tourism, significant results have been achieved.

Last November, a visa-free agreement between China and Kazakhstan officially came into force, making travel to both countries convenient.

In March this year, Kazakhstan's Year of Tourism in China began successfully, and Kazakhstan began to transform into an emerging popular tourist destination for the Chinese.

Last September, China initiated the creation of the Tourism Alliance of Silk Road Cities. Soon, three Kazakh cities, including Konaev, Shymkent and Turkistan, became the first batch of Alliance members.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of February of this year, since visas were abolished between Kazakhstan and China, the number of Chinese tourists who came to Kazakhstan has increased 12 times.

A representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan reported that from November 10 last year to March this year, the number of tourists from China reached 126 thousand people.

Data from Chinese booking websites shows that since March this year, the number of flight bookings from China to Kazakhstan has more than tripled compared to the previous year.

The continuous flow of passengers caused an increase in logistics, capital flows and information. This has had a beneficial impact on the development of catering, passenger transport, infrastructure and other related industries, creating many opportunities for employment and development of the local economy.

Kazakhstan, as the ninth largest country in the world in terms of its territory, has wonderful natural landscapes, a diverse folk culture and rich tourism resources.

Currently, Chinese tourists have chosen Kazakhstan as a tourist destination, Astana has become a “must-visit place” for Chinese tourists. Along with the capital, Almaty, Shymkent, Aktau and other places are popular among Chinese tourists. Astana, located under the shadow of Baiterek, provides an opportunity to see how a new city is growing and developing. The street named after Xian Xinghai, named “People's Musician of China”, is a symbol of eternal friendship between the peoples of China and Kazakhstan. And the State National Natural Park Charyn with its unique landscapes is very popular among Chinese tourists.

Of course, this step will give new impetus to the friendship that has lasted for thousands of years between the two peoples of the Silk Road.

China has a vast territory, rich resources, beautiful mountains and lakes, a long history and a wonderful culture. In addition, we have a well-developed and convenient tourism infrastructure. We invite Kazakh friends to visit their relatives in China and thanks to this see our country with their own eyes, we will be happy about this.

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