Astana – Beijing: harmonizing positions and identifying the outlook

June 07. Kazpravda. Beijing

By Vladimir Kuryatov

Astana - Beijing: harmonizing positions and identifying the outlookPresident Nursultan Nazarbayev was in talks with top leadership of China and shared in the SCO Summit.

In the spirit of friendship and mutual understanding

It is President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 13th visit to China and the 26th meeting with Hu Jintao, as mentioned in the talks that resulted in the Joint Declaration on further development of strategic partnership and the intergovernmental agreement on border checkpoints the two leaders signed.

The cooperation outlook was also the topic in Nursultan Nazarbayev’s talks with Xi Jinping.

– Mr President, this is our first meeting. Pleased to meet you, – said Xi Jinping, pointing to Nursultan Nazarbayev’s sizeable contribution to development of friendship between the two countries, and to Kazakhstan’s leadership in the Central Asian region. The parties identified the priority cooperation areas – transport, logistics, cross-border partnerships, energy and agriculture.

It was agreed to continue top-level cooperation and exchanges in culture and tourism.

Economy prioritized

Talks with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on trade and economic relations were more specific. There is every ground to believe they will intensify, given the current dynamics and the turnover, increased by nearly 50%.

– Over the past year since our last meeting there have been many good developments in the Kazakhstan-China relations. Today, China is second in the world in GDP, and this is also evidence of your good work. I congratulate you on it. You have done a lot for the development of our relations, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Nursultan Nazarbayev also met with Jiang Zemin – board chairman of the CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), engaged in oil and gas operations in 29 countries.

Tallying up the talks at the briefing, he described China as a major strategic partner to our country’s economy and politics. Over the last 10 years alone, bilateral trade grew from $ 800 million to nearly $ 25 billion. China has invested $ 15 billion in various sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy.

– In the crisis years, our companies availed of $ 10 billion investment of China. This is a solid support, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

We are actively cooperating in energy and agriculture, exporting to China about 20% of oil and gas products and are interested in the industrial segment, import of industrial equipment, NT, development of transport and logistics infrastructure.

– The major projects in the country are: creation of petrochemical complex in Atyrau region worth a few billion dollars, reconstruction of the Shymkent refinery and construction of the pipeline from the country’s western to southern regions, which will be finalized next year to reduce dependence on foreign supplies. Besides, talks are ongoing on building of a new highway Almaty – Astana and a high-speed railway in the same direction, as well as Zhezkazgan – Beineu railway – said the President.

Development of new technologies, alternative energy, agribusiness, machine building is reflected in the reached agreements.

In general, cooperation with China in the financial, economic, industrial, cultural and humanitarian areas will be growing, – Nursultan Nazarbayev believes.

He underscored the importance of the summits under conditions of global economic volatility. The reached agreements boost the economic cooperation. Subsequent to the talks several memoranda were signed: on establishment of the Kazakhstan-China Business Council; a MoU between JSC KAZNEX INVEST and Inner Mongolia Machinery Group Co Ltd.; MoI on the investment project between the LLP Alageum Group and Jiangsu Huapeng Transformer Co Ltd.

The LLP “Atyrau Oil Refinery” has signed a loan agreement with Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM) for the construction of a deep oil refining complex the sum of $ 1.1 billion.

The SCO strategy

The focus areas of SCO summit were outlined issuing from the Organization’s mid-term development strategy drafted last year in Astana. Nursultan Nazarbayev emphasized it should balance the main activities of the SCO.

For example, the important aspects are seen to be environmental protection, migration policy, information exchange and other areas.

Kazakhstan welcomes the adoption of the 2013-2015 Programme of Cooperation in Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, and Nazarbayev emphasized the importance of a better coordination of antiterrorist efforts between the competent bodies of the SCO member-states, observer countries and dialogue partners.

To enhance cooperation in security the Kazakh President proponed:

First, to establish conference on settlement of territorial and regional conflicts between the SCO member states. -This idea was partially reflected in the revised SCO Regulations on Political and Diplomatic Measures and Response Mechanism to Events Jeopardizing Regional Peace, Security and Stability.

Second, to establish a special agency – cyberpol – for protection against Internet aggressions.

Third, to establish the SCO Prognosis Center.

Fourth, to consistently implement the 2011-2016 SCO Anti-drug Strategy adopted at the summit in Astana.

The President touched upon the aspects of strengthening the economic and humanitarian partnership within the SCO framework. He believes that cooperation in economy should be prioritized in the short-term outlook, with Business Council and Interbank Association playing a prominent part.

Nursultan Nazarbayev supported creation of financial support tools for the projects – the SCO Special Account and the SCO Development Bank.

The SCO intergovernmental agreement on international motor carriages will unlock the member-states’ transport and transit potential, which in turn will increase mutual trade in the Organization’s frames and also transit cargo flows between Asia and Europe.

The President reminded of the current projects in Kazakhstan for development of transportation and logistics services to double the transit traffic. Zhezkazgan-Beineu railway is being constructed for this end, as well as the “Aktau” port extension and the a-building logistics center in Aktobe.

– In 2015 the Western Europe-Western China transcontinental corridor will have been constructed to reduce the time of goods’ carriages from China to Europe by almost 3.5 times compared to the sea route. N.Nazarbayev invited the partners for transport-logistics cooperation.

He supported the initiative of Hu Jintao to establish energy and agriculture food cooperation between the member-countries.

Creation of the SCO structures for water and food issues is deemed relevant to address the shortage of water resources in Central Asia and to avert conflicts in this area thereby.

Other musts brought up by Nursultan Nazarbayev are the innovation cooperation program, an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in science and technology, SCO Youth Council and the University.

In view of the International Security Assistance Force withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, N. Nazarbayev said it was necessary to establish permanent monitoring and exchange of information on the situation in this country through the Security Councils and the RATS.

He holds that granting to Afghanistan an SCO observer status will strengthen the economic and humanitarian cooperation with this country, and supported granting a dialogue partner status to Turkey.

Kazakhstan is for settlement of Iran’s nuclear problem exclusively by diplomatic means and hopes for a speedy stabilization in Syria, supporting the international efforts to establish a political dialogue and provide humanitarian assistance.