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Kazakhstan a mutually beneficial BRI partner

By Liang Haiming and Da Hsuan Feng | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-07-05 08:51
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In a speech he delivered at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Sept 7, 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed that the two countries jointly build the "Silk Road Economic Belt", which together with the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road now makes up the Belt and Road Initiative.

Kazakhstan has been an active participant in the Belt and Road Initiative since then, with the two countries establishing cooperation in infrastructure, energy, agriculture and other fields. The establishment of the China-Kazakhstan Khorgos International Border Cooperation Center has further deepened Sino-Kazakh cooperation in logistics and trade, while the Sino-Kazakh oil and gas pipelines have strengthened mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy sector.

In terms of cultural exchanges, too, the two sides have made significant achievements. Every year, a large number of Chinese students travel to Kazakhstan for higher studies, and vice versa, while art exhibitions and cultural exchanges have helped deepen mutual understanding. For example, traditional Kazakh music and dance are popular in China, and Chinese calligraphy and martial arts are popular in Kazakhstan.

Despite all this, Sino-Kazakh ties face several challenges. First, communication barriers due to cultural differences persist, and although people of both countries have overcome many obstacles through friendly exchanges, differences in language and culture still exist.

Second, the differences in the two countries' economic structure create obstacles when it comes to trade exchanges and investment, especially because China's is a relatively advanced economy and Kazakhstan's economy mainly relies on its oil and mineral resources.

And third, the fast-changing international situation and geopolitical factors have increased uncertainties, making cooperation between the two sides more difficult.

However, China can use its technological and financial prowess and Kazakhstan can employ its resources to advantage to deepen cooperation in fields such as infrastructure, new energy, the digital economy and high-tech and other areas. Working together under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Kazakhstan can further improve logistics and cross-border transportation networks.

In particular, the further development of the China-Kazakhstan Khorgos International Border Cooperation Center will smooth trade and personnel exchanges between the two sides. There is huge potential for cooperation between China and Kazakhstan in the field of new energy, too. Kazakhstan has abundant wind and solar energy resources, while China has significant advantages in new energy technology and funding, making them ideal partners in clean energy generation.

The digital economy is an important area of development. China is a global leader in 5G, artificial intelligence, big data and other fields, and Kazakhstan can learn from China's experience to build its own digital infrastructure. The two countries can also establish cooperation in areas such as the digital economy in their pursuit of high-quality development.

High-tech industries, including biomedicine, new materials and aerospace, are another important area of cooperation for the two sides. In particular, in the field of biomedicine, the two sides can jointly conduct research to develop new pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment.

Besides, Kazakhstan can learn from China's rich experience in smart city construction to promote its own smart city construction. The two sides can also work together in international and regional organizations such as the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to help reform the global governance system and develop a fair and just world order, while upholding multilateralism, and opposing unilateralism and trade protectionism.

By strengthening their cooperation on regional security issues, the two countries can jointly counter terrorism, extremism and transnational crimes. Through intelligence sharing, joint exercises, and other forms of cooperation, they can enhance the level of regional security cooperation and maintain regional peace and stability.

Furthermore, cultural exchanges are an important part of Sino-Kazakh relations. For instance, Ruslan Tulenov, a Kazakh youth studying at Hainan University, realized he had Rh negative blood when donating blood at a medical camp in Hainan province in 2009. Since then he has donated the rare "panda blood" many times, saving many lives in the process.

In the same spirit, the two countries can boost educational exchanges, encouraging students to study in each other's country and deepen mutual understanding. By regularizing teacher and student exchange programs, and organizing academic seminars and conferences, the two countries can cultivate more talents with international perspectives.

Tourism is another area that has huge development potential. The two sides should open up more attractive tourist routes and offer better, richer tourist experiences to attract more visitors from the other side, increase people-to-people exchanges and deepen mutual understanding.

Moreover, cooperation between China and Russia can help balance international relations and develop a truly multipolar world order, as opposed to a unipolar world order. The coordinated actions of the two countries in international organizations such as the United Nations can help address global crises, resolve regional conflicts and maintain world peace. And trade between the two countries can promote development and contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region.

While cooperation between the two countries in Belt and Road projects and the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union can boost infrastructure construction, promote cross-border trade and investment, collaboration between China and Russia in areas such as counter-terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation and biosecurity can help reduce global security threats and maintain global security.

As for cooperation between China and Kazakhstan, it will bring more benefits to the people of both countries and make positive contributions to regional and global peace and development.

China and Kazakhstan need to "work together with one heart", advance hand in hand, and jointly embrace the opportunities and challenges of the future.

Liang Haiming is the dean and Da Hsuan Feng the honorary dean of the Belt and Road Research Institute at Hainan University.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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