Sino-Kazakh relations – perfect example of strategic cooperation, China’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan


Ruslan Suleimenov

Sino-Kazakh relations - perfect example of strategic cooperation, China's Ambassador to KazakhstanAs earlier reported, President of China Hu Jintao invited Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to pay a visit to China on February 21-23. Ambassador of China to Kazakhstan Zhou Li kindly agreed to give an interview to our agency on the occasion of the Kazakh President’s visit to China.

-Dear Mr. Ambassador, what can you tell about the program of the visit of our President to China?

-Negotiations of President N.Nazarbayev with President Hu Jintao as well as meetings with Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese officials are expected to be held within the visit. The leaders of the two countries will set directions of further Kazakh-Chinese relations, discuss issues of further practical cooperation development and exchange views on the topical issues of international and regional agenda. Besides, the Kazakh President is expected to visit Tianjin city. The sides will sign the joint information communique and about 10 intergovernmental agreements and documents on cooperation.

-How does China appraise the upcoming visit of N.Nazarbayev to China?

-This is the 17th visit of the President to China and the first foreign visit this year. The visit is an important event of 2011 and it will contribute to strategic development of partnership between Kazakhstan and China. Today the Kazakh-Chinese relations experience the best period in their development history. The parties strengthen mutual political trust, deepen practical cooperation in different fields and strengthen strategic interaction in the international arena. I am pleased to state that the relations between our states are a bright example of good relations between neighboring countries. Today, new conditions provide new opportunities and space for the Kazakh-Chinese relations development. I believe results achieved within the visit will give an impetus to bilateral cooperation and open a new page in the relationships between Kazakhstan and China.

-Could you tell us about the current state of bilateral relations of China and Kazakhstan?

-Recent intensive top-level contacts provide strengthening of the political interaction. The leaders of the two states maintain both close working contacts and personal friendship. The example shows that Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Kazakhstan twice in a half-year period from December 2009 to June 2010. Speaking of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, he has paid 16 visits to China. The sides maintain regular opinions exchange regarding the bilateral relations, regional and international issues and share similar positions on a wide range of topical problems of the international agenda. The mutual visits of the top officials made great contribution to the development of relations between Kazakhstan and China.

Guided by the spirit of mutual trust, benefit and joint development we are ready to strengthen cooperation with the Kazakh side at different levels and directions and make every effort to provide successfulness of the upcoming visit of President N.Nazarbayev.   

-How does the cooperation of Kazakhstan and China go in economic sphere? Has it emerged from the shadow of the global financial crisis?

-The bilateral economic cooperation is an important material base of the Kazakh-Chinese strategic partnership. To date, Kazakhstan is the second trade partner of China among the CIS states, while China is the first trade partner of Kazakhstan in Central Asia since the last year. Amid the global crisis the governments and state bodies of the two countries have taken a number of measures to minimize the crisis impact on the bilateral economic cooperation. China povided a USD 13 bln loan to Kazakhstan. According to the statistics of the Chinese side, the trade turnover between the countries reached USD 20.31 bln in 2010, increasing by 45.3%.

-Presently, Kazakhstan is implementing a number of big transport infrastructure projects including “Western China – Western Europe” transport corridor, high speed railways and others. How do you think the sides will reach any agreements in this field during the visit of President Nazarbayev to China?

-China backs Kazakhstan’s efforts on development of transit potential through the use of its unique geographic advantages. Implementation of the project of “Western China – Western Europe” highway and construction of high speed railways allows to increase the level of Kazakhstan’s economy and consolidate its position at the international competition level.

In recent years China is rapidly developing construction of infrastructure. The total length of road network as of the end of 2010 is 3 million 984 thousand kilometers, including 74 thousand kilometers of highways. 7,531 kilometers of high speed railways have been put into service. Thus, China takes lead in this aspect. The People’s Republic of China possesses rich experience and advanced technologies in the field of construction of high speed railways and trains.

We are ready to share our experience with Kazakhstan and take an active part in modernization of road and railway networks.

-What can you say about the level of energy cooperation between China and Kazakhstan and its prospects?

-Interaction in the field of energy is one of the most important directions of our strategic partnership and a pattern of mutually beneficial relations. Due to the support of our presidents we have reached great success. In 1998 when Chinese National Petroleum Company bought a 60.3% stake in the Aktobe Oil Company, the annual production of crude oil made only 2 million tons. Ten years later Chinese technologies, investments and management system allowed to increase annual production more than twofold. In 2009, construction of the second stage of Chinese-Kazakh oil pipeline and “Central Asia” gas pipeline was finished. This means that the energy cooperation between China and Kazakhstan has risen to a new level.

Chinese enterprises operating in Kazakhstan do not forget their social responsibilities. They actively participate in local social development programs, train Kazakh workers, participate in the construction of railways, greenhouses and make a positive contribution to employment and increase of local tax revenues.

-What about our cooperation in non-oil sector?

-China attaches much importance to cooperation with Kazakhstan in non-oil sector. In 2007 our governments signed agreement on cooperation in this sphere, which involves information and communications, construction materials, transport, chemistry, oil and gas processing, metallurgy, agriculture, tourism, etc. The agreement is implemented as it was planned. For instance, there has been launched Kazakhstan Electrolysis Plant in Pavlodar. Construction of Moinakskaya Hydro Power Plant is underway.

China and Kazakhstan are reliable partners. China is always ready to develop relations in all directions according to the principle “mutual benefit and mutual development”.

-Sino-Kazakh cooperation embraces not only economic relations but also humanitarian collaboration.

-Since the establishment of diplomatic relationship humanitarian cooperation between Kazakhstan and China has been successfully developing. The countries’ governments signed a set of agreements on cooperation in the sphere of education, culture and others. The parties convene regularly to extend friendly ties between the regions and nations.

In the field of education the countries practice information, language and students’ exchange. Several thousand of Kazakh students study in China so far. China increases annual quotas for scholarship students from Kazakhstan up to 200 people. Above 1,000 China’s students entered the Kazakh higher educational institutions. Kazakhstan opened two Confucius Institutes to afford unique grounds for Kazakhstan people to study Chinese and China’s culture. A contest “Chinese Bridge” is annually announced to let gain scholarship to study in China.

In the sphere of culture the countries enjoy solid ties. Artistic ensembles are known to pay mutual visits. Last year Kazakhstan’s presentation at EXPO-2010 in Shanghai was a success. Kazakhstan stand was popular among China’s audience and stirred interest among the foreign tourists. At the end of February Kazakhstan will greet “Merry Spring Holiday” events involving well-known Chinese artists. I hope Kazakhstan would love them.

As for the cooperation in sport the sides render all-round support in organization of large-scale sporting events. Kazakh sportsmen participated in the Beijing Olympic Games and Guangzhou Asian Games.

Taking the opportunity let me congratulate the people of Kazakhstan on brilliant victory of the Kazakh team sweeping the most gold medals at the last Asian Games. Undoubtedly it is the best gift for the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence.

-How do you assess decade-long development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its prospects?

-Initially the SCO purpose was to address the border problems between China and several former Soviet republics and confidence-building measures along the borders.

In 2001 as the world economy globalization and multi-polarization advanced in order to further cooperation, joint challenge response, efficient protection of their interests, prosperity – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan set to found the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

For the past 10 years the SCO has substantially grown. Firstly, formation of the organization and development of its legal base took short time. Secondly, the SCO member states are actively carrying out cooperation. Thirdly, the SCO crafts positive image of peace, cooperation and oneness in the international arena. Today the SCO sparks great interest among its member states and the world community.

Among the various Eurasian international engines and institutions the SCO sets apart for its bright specific features. First of all, it initiates the Shanghai spirit that speaks for mutual trust, mutual befit, equal rights and aspiration for joint development. All the said is of great importance for deepening mutual trust, maintaining stability in the world and region. Secondly, the SCO member states occupy 60% of the Eurasian continent with the population making the one fourth of the world population. Besides, China and Russia are the Permanent members of the UN Security Council and play an important role in international affairs that gives the SCO additional opportunities to influence the region. Thirdly, the SCO focuses on cooperation in the areas of economy and security meeting the needs of the region and the SCO member states. The SCO combats “the three evil forces”, expands economic ties for the benefit of joint development.  Besides, the SCO stands for openness and transparency of the political course never acceding to coalitions, making no resistance getting into a dialogue with corresponding international and regional organizations.

All this bespeaks the SCO have opportunities and strength for further development. The SCO role in regional and international affairs gains momentum.