On July 2, 2024, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan to attend the 24th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and paid an official visit to Kazakhstan at the invitation of Kazakh President Kassym Jomart Tokayev.  On his arrival at the airport, Xi was warmly received by Tokayev and a group of high-ranking Kazakh officials.  Photo: Xinhua

On July 2, 2024, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan to attend the 24th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and paid an official visit to Kazakhstan at the invitation of Kazakh President Kassym Jomart Tokayev. On his arrival at the airport, Xi was warmly received by Tokayev and a group of top Kazakh officials. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Kazakhstan on Tuesday for the 24th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and an official visit to Kazakhstan.

Observers said the visit to Kazakhstan – the country where Xi made his first foreign visit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022 and the Silk Road Economic Belt in 2013, an integral part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) The proposal was made. – Underlines the strong bilateral ties and high level of political trust between the two countries and is led by the head of state in diplomacy, and that the Central Asian region is of key importance to China’s foreign policy. .

As this year marks the 32nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Kazakhstan, the visit will outline ways for future bilateral and regional comprehensive cooperation, with analysts pointing to a wide range of areas for further cooperation. Pointing out, such as jointly safeguarding regional security and promoting connectivity as well as facilitating people-to-people exchanges under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRI framework.

Observers said that the flourishing relations between China and Kazakhstan, as well as the Central Asian region, have set a model for building a new type of international relations with the support of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which respects the diversity of civilizations and shares common interests. There is an effort to develop, observers said.

This is in stark contrast to the geopolitical zero-sum mindset of some Western countries, whereby they ignore the real demands of Central Asian economies, increasing pressure only to build their influence on the continent and exclude other participants. are

Xi said on Tuesday that China and Kazakhstan have established a unique permanent comprehensive strategic partnership. Xi expressed these views in a written statement upon his arrival in the capital, Astana.

Xi also praised the achievements of China-Kazakhstan cooperation in a signed article published in Kazakh media on Tuesday. Xi said he looked forward to meeting with Kazakh President Qasim Jomart Tokayev to plan the way forward for China-Kazakhstan closer cooperation and develop a new blueprint for further development of bilateral relations and the SCO.

Expectations are high.

The Global Times observed that hundreds of local residents waved the national flags of China and Kazakhstan near the historic Beijing Tower in Astana on Tuesday morning to warmly welcome Xi Jinping’s arrival. “Welcome!” Crowds, made up of local residents, lined both sides of the roads where the motorbikes would pass, cheering enthusiastically in Chinese.

Local residents and scholars have high expectations for the visit, with some highlighting the growing connectivity between China and Kazakhstan under the BRI.

“The Silk Road was one of the most important logistics channels for the transportation of goods from Asia to Europe. I believe that it is a symbol of great cooperation between our countries and our neighbors, and it is the future economic development of both countries. will lead to development. Our countries,” a Kazakh college student named Konstantin told the Global Times.

“China is one of the biggest countries in the world. Many Kazakhs travel to China and bring back a lot of useful information and technology. I think cooperation with China is having a very positive effect on our country, Salima, another Kazakh, said. Global Times

Observers said the visit indicates that strategic guidance from the heads of state is a political advantage and a distinctive feature of China-Kazakhstan relations. Closer interactions at the highest level against a backdrop of rising geopolitical tensions will “instill confidence and new impetus” in the development of Central Asia and the world.

“It is important for both China and Kazakhstan not only to maintain the positive dynamics of our dialogue, but also to deepen the friendship between our peoples, and contribute to regional peace and stability. An even more Productive and mutually beneficial [relationship]”, Aliya Mosabkova, chief specialist of the Asian Studies Department at the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

In 2013, Xi visited Kazakhstan and floated the idea of ​​building an “economic belt along the Silk Road”, which eventually became the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) along with the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road proposal. .

He visited the Central Asian country in 2017 and 2022 to promote bilateral ties, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The two countries further advanced their ties to a permanent comprehensive strategic partnership during Kazakh President Kassym Jomart Tokayev’s state visit to China in 2019, which reached its historic high.

“Currently, China has established strategic partnerships or comprehensive strategic partnerships with many countries around the world. However, describing China-Kazakhstan relations as a permanent comprehensive strategic partnership is unique… the definition is objective. , is valid and reflects the affirmation and positive expectations of both sides towards our friendship,” Zhang Zhao, Ambassador of China to Kazakhstan. He said this in an exclusive interview to Global Times..

According to analysts, despite the ever-changing international environment, China and Kazakhstan have been strong supporters of each other on issues related to their core interests, which lays a solid foundation for the development of bilateral relations to greater heights.

Kazakhstan has endorsed several initiatives proposed by China: Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative. The two neighbors have also pledged to build a common future community for mankind.

Relations between China and Kazakhstan are based on deeply shared ideals, as both countries share a vision of the need to prevent further poisoning of international relations, as well as the urgent need to normalize international relations. interests of every member of the international community, Former SCO Secretary General Bolat Nurgalev told the Global Times.

A model for collaboration

The Astana Times reported that Kazakhstan is hosting the SCO summit in Astana and has pledged to do all it can to build the SCO’s capacity. After the Astana summit, China will assume the rotating presidency of the SCO for 2024-2025.

“One of the top items on the agenda of the SCO summit is to maintain regional stability. China and Kazakhstan can strengthen security cooperation, resolutely fight against the ‘three evil forces’ and from external powers. The instigators can avoid the ‘color revolution’,” Cui Heng, a scholar at the Shanghai-based China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Another area of ​​cooperation is economy, and China, as the largest economy in the SCO with extensive trade relations with each member state, can play a constructive role in cooperation with Kazakhstan.

According to Cui, on the economic front, China and Kazakhstan can jointly promote the implementation of more regional infrastructure connectivity projects, such as the opening of the highway section of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), known as the Middle Corridor. Also called which may offer the most cost-effective route amid rising geopolitical tensions in Eurasia.

Bilateral cooperation between China and Kazakhstan under the BRI is “setting trends” in Eurasia, the scholars said.

In 2023, trade between China and Kazakhstan will reach a record $41 billion, accounting for nearly half of China’s trade with Central Asia, Xinhua reported. The capacity and investment collaboration has produced a project list with a total value of more than $21.2 billion. Through industrial cooperation and synergy between China’s proposed BRI and Kazakhstan’s “Bright Road” economic policy, Kazakhstan has established itself as a major regional transportation hub and a key transit hub for China-Europe freight trains. , in which 80 percent of the cargo is shipped. Through the flagship BRI project running through the country.

Across Central Asia, China’s cooperation with the other four regional countries is also gaining momentum. China’s bilateral trade with Tajikistan rose 53.5 percent year-on-year to $3.93 billion last year, customs data showed. China’s Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday that the Chinese leader will also pay an official visit to Tajikistan at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Imam Ali Rahman.

Zhang said, “The China-Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit is an opportunity to strengthen cooperation and coordination with the five Central Asian countries, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and advocate a fair multipolar world and comprehensive globalization.” ready to use as”. New energy in building a closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future.

Li Zigu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday that more than 30 years of China-Central Asia cooperation has proven that China is a constructive player in the region. Li added that whether through the BRI projects or through bilateral cooperation, China has been engaged in the development of these countries without any geopolitical imperatives.

Analysts say that while some Western powers are investing in geopolitical competition in the region, China has the industrial capacity that Central Asian countries need to modernize, providing them with technologies and Providing affordable products that are highly competitive.

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