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Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Kazakhstan for SCO summit and state visit

Astana, 2 July 2024, (GNP): Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Kazakhstan to attend the 24th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and undertake a state visit. This marks Xi’s fifth visit to Kazakhstan and his second within two years, following his previous state visit in September 2022.

Strengthening Bilateral Relations

Unique Partnership

Upon his arrival, President Xi highlighted the “unique” partnership between China and Kazakhstan, emphasizing the strong and enduring friendship that has set an example of solidarity, mutual benefit, and mutual success between neighboring countries.

High-Level Meetings

Strategic Discussions

During his stay, President Xi will engage in detailed discussions with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The focal points of these talks will include trade and investment, infrastructure development, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

New Prospects

Gulnar Shaimergenova, director of Kazakhstan’s China Studies Center, noted that Xi’s visit is expected to open new prospects for bilateral cooperation, building on the “golden 30 years” of cooperation between Kazakhstan and China.

Economic and Trade Cooperation

Robust Growth China was Kazakhstan’s largest trading partner in 2023, with two-way trade increasing by 32 percent year-on-year to reach 41 billion U.S. dollars. Key exports from Kazakhstan to China include crude oil, metals, and agricultural products, while China supplies machinery, electronics, and consumer goods.

Belt and Road Initiative

Strategic Partnership

Kazakhstan is a critical partner in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to boost connectivity and promote global prosperity. Since its proposal in Kazakhstan in 2013, the BRI has enhanced connectivity and economic integration through various projects, such as the Zhanatas wind farm, Turgusun hydropower station, and modernization of the Shymkent Oil Refinery.

Infrastructure Development

The China-Kazakhstan crude oil and natural gas pipelines, the Western Europe-Western China Highway, and the China-Europe Railway Express are key components of the BRI, ensuring stable and efficient transportation and trade routes.

Also Read: President Xi to attend SCO summit and undertake state visits to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan

Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges

Deepening Ties Both nations have recognized the importance of fostering greater understanding and friendship between their peoples. Significant cultural cooperation initiatives include a mutual establishment of cultural centers, co-produced films, and bilateral programs such as a Chinese university campus in Kazakhstan, a Luban Workshop, and a traditional Chinese medicine center.

Increased Mobility Thanks to mutual visa-exemption arrangements, cross-border trips between China and Kazakhstan reached 600,000 in 2023. In the first quarter of this year alone, visits in both directions amounted to 200,000, with numbers expected to reach new highs.

Future Outlook

Enhanced Cooperation President Xi’s visit is anticipated to bring a renewed focus on the multifaceted aspects of bilateral ties and cooperation, further strengthening China-Kazakhstan relations and contributing to regional stability and prosperity.