Chinese President’s historic visit to Kazakhstan.. Strategic talks, agreements and joint initiatives

 Chinese President’s historic visit to Kazakhstan.. Strategic talks, agreements and joint initiatives


Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pledged to continue to work closely together on international and regional affairs, while the Chinese President praised the uniqueness of the Sino-Kazakh partnership and said that his country and Kazakhstan have established a unique permanent comprehensive strategic partnership and expressed support for Astana’s accession to BRICS.

The Chinese and Kazakh sides expressed their full readiness to provide all possible assistance for the successful implementation of current and future business projects, exchanged views on deepening regional cooperation and expanding cultural and humanitarian contacts, expressed consensus on issues on the international agenda, and stressed the need to strengthen multilateral diplomacy.

President Xi Jinping hailed China’s long-standing “unique” ties with Kazakhstan as he arrived in the Central Asian country on Tuesday for a state visit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping during a July 3 meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Akorda:” China will always be a reliable support for Kazakhstan”

During narrow-format talks, Tokayev expressed gratitude to Xi for accepting the invitation to visit Kazakhstan and reiterated that China is not just Kazakhstan’s good neighbor but a close friend and a time-tested, reliable partner.

“I believe that your visit is of exceptional importance. China is a friendly neighboring state, an important strategic partner and one of our main allies. I note with satisfaction that Kazakh-Chinese relations, based on unbreakable friendship and mutual support, are developing at an unprecedented pace. I highly appreciate your significant contribution to strengthening the eternal comprehensive strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and China. I fully support your initiative to take cooperation between the two countries to a new level for the benefit of our peoples,” Tokayev said.

Tokayev highly appreciated Kazakh-Chinese relations, which are steadily developing in all areas, based on the unshakable values of common history, good neighborliness and mutual support.

Xi, in turn, expressed gratitude to Tokayev for the warm welcome on Kazakh land and emphasized the effectiveness of the reforms that the Kazakh President has been implementing. 

“You have implemented a comprehensive set of effective measures in both domestic and foreign policy. As a result, your country’s global influence and prestige have significantly increased” Xi said.

Speaking of the Kazakh-Chinese bilateral relations, Xi assured that China prioritizes Kazakhstan in its foreign policy and recognizes it a significant partner in Central Asia.

  “Last year, we outlined new plans and determined the main directions for the dynamic development of Chinese-Kazakh relations during the ‘golden thirty years’. I would like to confirm that China always views relations with Kazakhstan from a strategic height and with a long-term perspective, considering Kazakhstan a priority in its foreign policy in relations with neighboring countries and an important partner in Central Asia. Our will and determination to ensure Chinese-Kazakh relations remain unshakable and are not subject to opportunistic influences,” Xi said.

He also pledged an “in-depth exchange of views” on bilateral and international matters with his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who received the Chinese leader at the airport in the capital Astana.

China and Kazakhstan have developed “a unique permanent comprehensive strategic partnership” in 32 years of diplomatic ties and a friendship that “has endured for generations”, Xi said.

“I am looking forward to an in-depth exchange of views with President Tokayev on China-Kazakhstan relations as well as on international and regional issues of common concerns and to make new arrangements for the development of relations,” he added.

During the visit, which came at the official invitation of the Kazakh President and to attend the Shanghai Organisation Summit, Kazakh and Chinese business leaders signed more than 40 agreements worth $3.7 billion, while the two sides discussed several key issues and initiatives launched during their meeting, including but not limited to the early doubling of bilateral trade and the development of investment cooperation in various fields, including e-commerce, auto and auto parts production, transit and transport, logistics, energy, agriculture, finance, and tourism, to name a few.

Kazakhstan and China are currently implementing 45 joint investment projects worth a total of $14.5 billion in the fields of industry, energy, transport, transit, green economy and agriculture, while trade volume during the period from January to March this year reached $6.3 billion, and railway freight increased by 22% to 28 million tonnes.

The two sides also signed several agreements covering various fields of co-operation, most notably:

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and President Xi Jinping signed a Joint Statement following their talks. Numerous agreements were also signed covering various areas of cooperation, including:

  1. Exchange and cooperation between Kazakhstan’s “AMANAT” Party and the Communist Party of China.
  2. Implementation roadmap for trade cooperation, technical and economic cooperation agreements.
  3. Expansion of cross-border railways, innovative technologies, and Trans-Caspian transport route cooperation.
  4. Cooperation in strategic minerals for clean energy technologies.
  1. Language education, joint laboratories, smart agriculture, and microsatellite research.
  2. Veterinary protocols for cattle exports, agriculture science centres.
  3. International Lunar Research Station, high-tech projects, digital currency cooperation.
  4. Broadcasting cooperation, cooperation with China Media Group, People’s Daily.
  5. Cooperation agreements in tourism and sports.
  6. Conformity assessment, quality testing laboratory.
  7. Strategic energy project cooperation with China National Petroleum Corporation.

In a signed article for Kazakhstan’s state-backed media published on Tuesday, Xi vowed greater bilateral cooperation on the economy, international affairs, security and people-to-people exchanges.

He also pledged to “further open China’s mega-market to Kazakhstan”, deepen partnership in traditional fields such as energy and agriculture, and open new vistas of cooperation in “new energy, digital economy, artificial intelligence, cross-border e-commerce and aerospace”.

China last year overtook Russia to become Kazakhstan’s biggest trading partner, with two-way trade reaching US$41 billion.

In his article, Xi also called for “high-quality operation” of the China-Europe Railway Express, or China Railway Express, and the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route. Both are major belt and road transport projects that cut across Central Asia to link China with Europe.

With regard to international affairs, Xi said that China and Kazakhstan should hold fast to the political tradition of mutual support and practice “true multilateralism”.

“China will work with Kazakhstan to uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law, act on true multilateralism, oppose hegemonism, power politics and bloc confrontation,” Xi wrote.

“We will work together to build an equal and orderly multipolar world, promote universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation, and bring about more positivity and certainty to world peace and stability.”

Kazakh-Chinese Business Council

Kazakh and Chinese business leaders signed over 40 agreements worth $3.7 billion on the sidelines of the Kazakh-Chinese Business Council on July 2.

The event gathered around 500 business representatives, including over 50 major Chinese companies.

The Samruk-Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund signed 16 agreements with Chinese partners, including those on the production of wind components, investment in the construction of a container hub at the Aktau seaport, and the development of e-commerce.

The Astana Akimat (administration), Bazis-A construction company, and the Shenzhen Energy Environmental Engineering and China State Construction Engineering Corporation agreed to construct a waste incineration plant to generate electricity.

Kazakh and Chinese business leaders also plan to launch the Qostanay Grain Industry plant for deep wheat processing in the Kostanai Region in 2027.

Trade and international

The talks continued in an expanded format with the participation of members of official delegations.

According to Tokayev, last year, mutual trade turnover exceeded a record $41 billion. Today, the sides implement 45 investment projects worth $14.5 billion in the areas of industry, energy, transport and transit, green economy, and agriculture, and strengthen cultural and humanitarian contacts. China traditionally occupies a leading position in terms of investment in the Kazakh economy, which has reached $24 billion over the past 15 years.

Tokayev said Kazakhstan supports China’s peaceful initiatives and highly appreciates its key role and contribution to building a fair world order in accordance with the fundamental principles of international law and the UN Charter.

Xi expressed support for Kazakhstan’s constructive role as a middle power in the international arena.

Cooperation prospects 

During the talks, the parties discussed prospects for developing investment cooperation in various areas, including e-commerce, automobile production and auto parts, transit and transport, logistics, energy, agriculture, finance and tourism.

Tokayev and Xi also exchanged views on deepening interregional cooperation and expanding cultural and humanitarian contacts.

Container shipping, cultural centers, branch of Beijing Language and Culture University

Tokayev and Xi participated in the opening ceremonies of several facilities. Via teleconference, they witnessed the ceremony of sending trucks and railway containers by cargo ferries along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR).

The presidents also inaugurated cultural centers of Kazakhstan in Beijing, and China in Astana.

According to Akorda, “The opening of these centers marks a new stage in the development of humanitarian cooperation between the two countries. The centers will become venues for various cultural events, exhibitions, lectures and master classes aimed at strengthening mutual understanding between the peoples of the two friendly countries.”

Finally, the sides solemnly opened a branch of the Beijing Language and Culture University at the Astana International University.

Effective implementation of these projects is intended to be a significant step toward improving cultural and educational exchanges and building political and economic connections between the two nations.

Statistics on Kazakh-Chinese relations

  1. Last year, mutual trade exceeded $41 billion, which is a record figure. Currently, 45 joint investment projects totalling $14.5 billion are being implemented in the fields of industry, energy, transport and transit, green economy, agriculture and other areas.
  2. In January-March 2024, trade turnover hit $6.3 billion.
  3. China traditionally occupies a leading position in terms of investment in the economy of Kazakhstan, which over the past 15 years has reached $24 billion.
  4. In 2023, Chinese investments in the Kazakh economy grew by 16%, reaching $1.8 billion. There is mutual interest in increasing this figure further.
  5. At the end of 2023, the export of agricultural products from Kazakhstan to China doubled, reaching $1 billion. There is potential to increase grain exports to 2 million tonnes.
  6. Freight volumes along the railway between Kazakhstan and China increased by 22%, reaching 28 million tonnes by the end of 2023.