President Xi Arrives in Kazakhstan to Participate in the SCO Summit and Strengthen Cooperation

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In 2019, both countries decided to elevate their ties to a ‘Permanent Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.’

On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Kazakhstan for a state visit and to attend the 24th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

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This is Xi’s fifth visit to Kazakhstan and his second one since September 2022. It is expected that this visit will bring a renewed focus on the multifaceted aspects of bilateral ties and cooperation.

Upon arrival in the country, Xi described the China-Kazakhstan partnership as “unique” and emphasized that the eternal friendship between the two nations has strengthened over time, setting an example of solidarity, mutual benefit, and success among neighboring countries.

Through meetings with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Chinese leader will enhance cooperation between the two nations by promoting trade, investments, infrastructure development, and cultural exchanges.

“Our countries’ leaders initiated a new 30-golden-years of cooperation between Kazakhstan and China,” Gulnar Shaimergenova, director of the China Studies Center in Kazakhstan said, referring to a joint announcement by the two heads of state during Xi’s visit in 2022.

During Tokayev’s visit to China in 2019, both countries decided to elevate their ties to a “Permanent Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.” On Monday, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that Xi’s visit is expected to further strengthen bilateral relations.

Putin and #XiJinping , the leaders of #Russia and #China, praise the ‘stability’ of their partnership on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in #Astana , Kazakhstan.

They highlight the expanding membership of the #SCOSummit2024, which includes… pic.twitter.com/XV73AZfcMX

— Asian Politico (@AsianPolitico) July 4, 2024

The deepening of mutual trust and political ties between China and Kazakhstan has been accompanied by remarkable growth in their trade and economic cooperation over the past three decades.

China was Kazakhstan’s largest trading partner in 2023, with a year-on-year increase in bilateral trade of 32 percent, reaching US$41 billion. Kazakhstan’s main exports to China include crude oil, metals, and agricultural products. Meanwhile, China exports machinery, electronic products, and consumer goods to Kazakhstan.

The Central Asian nation has also become a key partner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to boost connectivity and promote global prosperity through infrastructure development, trade, and investment. In 2013, during his visit to Kazakhstan, Xi first proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative.

“This marked a magnificent chapter in Belt and Road cooperation between our countries. And since then, the development of China-Kazakhstan relations has entered a new stage,” Xi said in an article published by the Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspaper.

So far, thes countries have made significant progress in strengthening connectivity and economic integration through various Belt and Road Initiative projects.

Recent achievements include the Zhanatas wind farm, the Turgusun hydropower plant, and the modernization of the Shymkent oil refinery. These advances underscore the solid energy cooperation driving the development of both countries. The China-Kazakhstan oil and gas pipelines also operate with notable stability and security, ensuring a constant and vital energy supply for both economies.

This dynamic partnership has also extended to transportation infrastructure, with key logistics and transport hubs such as the Xi’an terminal, the Western Europe-Western China highway, and the China-Europe express train.

Launched in May 2014, the China-Kazakhstan (Lianyungang) Logistics Cooperation Base in #Jiangsu province is the first entity project under the Belt and Road Initiative, serving as the key departure port for Kazakhstan’s grain transit in China.@GoJiangsu https://t.co/BkkLgQxQbE pic.twitter.com/tHpLhc6toE

— Invest in China (@investing_china) July 4, 2024

The Belt and Road Initiative’s support for cross-border transport infrastructure has benefited Kazakhstan’s connectivity, the World Bank acknowledged in its report titled “South Caucasus and Central Asia: Kazakhstan Country Case Study of the Belt and Road Initiative.”

For over a decade, Kazakhstan has made substantial investments to improve its own transport network. However, some gaps have been difficult to fill due to limited improvements in trade facilitation and resource constraints in many neighboring countries.

The attention given by the Belt and Road Initiative to expanding transport infrastructure and economic integration, as well as China’s efforts to connect its western and central regions more effectively with Europe and West Asia, provide an opportunity to bridge these gaps.

“Kazakhstan is likely to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Belt and Road Initiative,” the World Bank report concluded. Meanwhile, during Xi’s visit, a consensus on deepening cultural exchanges is expected to be reached.

Both nations have long recognized the importance of fostering greater understanding and friendship between their peoples and consider cultural exchanges one of the main pillars of their bilateral relationship.

So far, a China-Kazakhstan agreement on the mutual establishment of cultural centers has been signed. Chinese and Kazakh filmmakers have co-produced a movie titled “The Composer.” Bilateral cultural cooperation programs, such as a Chinese university campus in Kazakhstan, a Luban Workshop, and a traditional Chinese medicine center, have been implemented.

Thanks to mutual visa exemption agreements, 600,000 cross-border trips were recorded in 2023. In the first quarter of 2024, the number of bilateral visits reached 200,000 and is expected to hit a new high.

“Cultural and people-to-people cooperation plays an important role in strengthening bilateral ties and fostering friendship between the peoples of our countries,” Tokayev said during the opening ceremony the “Year of Kazakhstan Tourism” held in Beijing in March.

#China | Probe collects samples from the hidden face of the moon. pic.twitter.com/X9Pydt0dFh

— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) June 26, 2024

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