Central Asia benefits from peaceful development policy

10:52, June 11, 2010      

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Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Chinese President Hu Jintao's agreement to deepen cooperation between China and Kazakhstan is a clear manifestation that the strategic partnership between the countries is working.

Moreover, the policy of peaceful development is helping to foster an atmosphere of friendly economic relations that is bringing food and energy security not only to Central Asian but to the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Agreements signed during their meetings in Almaty to enlarge the Kazakhstan-China crude oil pipeline, which is sending crude overland to China, together with the opening of the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline last December, have created a stable and secure energy link between the producing nations of Central Asia and Chinese consumers.

Significantly, the increased Kazakh-China trade links resulting from energy and other natural resource cooperation may change where millions of other consumers throughout the greater Asia Pacific region get the energy from to heat their houses and grain for their meals.

The oil and gas pipelines built over the past few years have brought great economic benefits to Kazakhstan and the other nations in Central Asia. Developed jointly by the strategic partnership between China and Kazakhstan, the producing nations of Central Asia now have an alternative to selling gas and oil only to Russia - the markets of the East are now open for business as these pipelines stretch from the shores of the Caspian Sea to Shanghai.

Cooperation between China and Kazakhstan may pave the way for increased dialogue between producers in Central Asia and consumers in Asia and could lead to increased energy security for all in the Asia-Pacific region. Together with regional multilateral organizations, Kazakhstan's position at the crossroads of Eurasia allows it to play a key role in the economic development of Central Asia as it serves as the main link to the fast-paced growth of the Chinese economy.

The scope of cooperation between China and Kazakhstan is not strictly limited to the oil and gas sectors: grain exports could also become a major area of increased trade in the very near future. Last month, for the first time, 20,000 million metric tons of grain was shipped via rail from Kazakhstan through a Chinese port for export to an ASEAN country. Government officials from both countries have signed agreements where up to three million metric tons of grain are expected be shipped this year along this same route.

Grains such as wheat, barley, rice and corn, together with oil and gas supplies, are key ingredients when nations speak about "energy security". Kazakhstan, as the breadbasket of the former Soviet Union, is and will be a big player in this sector as well as a supplier of oil and gas to Asia.

With the help and cooperation of China and the vast network of rail and port facilities, the landlocked countries of Central Asia could extend the network of the famous Silk Road all the way to Southeast Asia.

China's peaceful development policies in Central Asia, and particularly the way these have been implemented in the strategic partnership with Kazakhstan, has clearly altered the way we can look at natural resource transactions and energy security for Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific.

When solutions to our vital energy security issues are sought based on cooperation, consensus building, and the balancing of the sovereign interests of each party, as in the case of Kazakhstan and China, a win-win outcome can indeed be found.

Antonio Mario Angotti is managing director for China and Central Asia for ITEX Quality Systems, an Italian oil and gas service company.

Source:China Daily

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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