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China, Kazakhstan to enhance BRI cooperation

By Zhang Xiao (People's Daily)    15:18, April 26, 2019

Photo shows panels of a Chinese-built solar power station in Kazakhstan. The solar power station was put into operation at the end of 2018 together with a wind power station that was also built by China. They have greatly elevated China-Kazakhstan cooperation in renewable energy and promoted clean energy in Kazakhstan. (Photo by Zhou Hanbo/People’s Daily) 

The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) is scheduled from April 25 to 27 in Beijing. The Belt and Road international cooperation, which adheres to the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, has injected impetus to world economy and boosted common development of all countries, against the backdrop of resurging trade protectionism and rising anti-globalization.

The Belt and Road Initiative was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan. Since then, China and Kazakhstan have seen fruitful outcomes delivered from the BRI cooperation.

In 2018 alone, the BRI cooperation brought huge tangible benefits to the two countries and the two peoples.

Last year, the trade volume between China and Kazakhstan reached $19.885 billion, among which Kazakh exports to China were worth $8.535 billion, increasing nearly 30 percent year-on-year.

Bilateral trade on farm products has seen rapid growth. In 2018, the trade on farm products between the two countries grew to $596 million, a rise of 18.13 percent on the previous year, of which Kazakh exports to China increased by 37.6 percent.

Kazakhstan signed agreements on exports of over 20 varieties of its farm products including dairy and meat during the first China International Import Expo. Nowadays, more Kazakh green food was put on tables of the Chinese people.

China and Kazakhstan seek to promote greater connectivity through transit transport.

Last year, 13.98 million tons of goods were transported between the two countries under support of the BRI, up by 38 percent year on year. Kazakhstan transported 8.5 million tons of goods to China, a rise of 54 percent year on year.

Last year, 2,388 China-Europe freight trains passed through the Alataw Pass and goods transported grew by nearly 50 percent year on year to 1.23 million tons. The number of China-Europe freight trains passing through Horgos Port increased to 404.

Last year, the Kazakhstan section of the Western Europe-Western China Highway opened to traffic, supporting two-way transportation between China and Europe. About 50,000 jobs were created with direct economic benefits worth $460 million.

Cooperation on production capacity driven by technology innovation between the two countries has made steady progress. 55 projects have been included in the cooperation list with a total contract value exceeding $27.4 billion.

After the upgrade of Shymkent oil refinery and the modernization of Atyrau refinery, Kazakhstan’s capacity in producing refined oil of European IV and V emission standards has been significantly improved, and its petrochemical industry has made substantial progress.

The 5-MW wind power generation station and the 1-MW solar power generation station built with the aid of Chinese companies have boosted the development of local green energy industry.

Photo shows Chinese and Kazakh engineers discussing operation of an asphalt plant in Aktau, Kazakhstan. The plant is the biggest cooperation project of China and Kazakhstan in the non-resource sector. (Photo by Zhou Hanbo/People’s Daily)

A Chinese dairy plant named Golden Camel in Turkestan could produce 2,500 tons of products per year, creating job opportunities in the local area and opening new markets for Kazakh dairy products.

Except for production capacity, China and Kazakhstan are also stepping up efforts to promote efficient and inclusive financial cooperation.

China has demonstrated strong support for the building of Astana International Financial Center, with Shanghai Stock Exchange and Silk Road Fund actively participating in the cooperation with the center. Besides, China Development Bank has also opened a representative office in the center.

The two countries are now accelerating the negotiation on establishing a regional RMB settlement center, as preparation for higher-level and larger-scale financial cooperation.

Thanks to closer people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Kazakhstan, about 15,000 Kazakh students are studying in China, and 1,400 Chinese students are studying in Kazakhstan.

Six Kazakh language and cultural centers as well as economic and social research institutes have been established in China, while Kazakhstan is also home to five Confucius Institutes.

Personal exchanges between the two countries are now better facilitated as Kazakh tourists can stay in south China’s Hainan province for a most of 30 days visa-free, and Kazakhstan also offers a 72-hour visa-free transit policy to Chinese visitors.

China-Kazakhstan cooperation is a miniature of the Belt and Road international cooperation. The joint construction of the Belt and Road is a positive project that shares benefits with all parties. It sets no conspiracy or trap, but only a platform for cooperation and shared development opportunity.

We have every reason to believe that the second BRF will further build consensus, map out construction priorities, and find solutions to cooperation issues, to assist meticulous implementation of the BRI and create a better future for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

(The author is Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan)

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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