China vows closer cooperation with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan

The permanent comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Kazakhstan has reached a new height in recent years, said Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang on Monday.

Ding, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks when holding talks and co-chairing the 11th Meeting of the China-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee with Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar in Astana.

Following his trip to Kazakhstan, Ding made a visit to Turkmenistan, where he also co-chaired with Turkmenistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov the sixth Meeting of the China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee.

Relations between China and Turkmenistan have achieved “great leaps” after the two countries upgraded bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in January, Ding said during the meeting on Wednesday.

High-quality joint construction of BRI 

China stands ready to work with Kazakhstan to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, promote the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and push the permanent comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Kazakhstan to a higher level, Ding said as he met with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Monday in Astana.

China is one of Kazakhstan’s largest trading partners. According to Kazakh official data, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached $24 billion in 2022.

Ding also called on the two sides to promote the synergy of the BRI and Kazakhstan’s Bright Road initiative, actively explore new forms and paths of cooperation, and deepen cooperation in culture, tourism, education, sports, youth and at sub-national levels to carry forward the traditional friendship between China and Kazakhstan.

In January, China and Turkmenistan signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Synergy between the BRI and Revival of the Great Silk Road. Both sides vowed to jointly explore points of convergence in their economies, actively promote policy communication, facilitate connectivity of infrastructure, ensure smooth trade, enhance financial connectivity, foster people-to-people bonds, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and cultural exchanges, and build a China-Turkmenistan community with a shared future.

Taking the synergy of their strategic development to the next step was Wednesday’s committee meeting, where both sides agreed to further their high-quality collaboration in jointly building the BRI.

They also agreed to concentrate efforts on enhancing the scale of economic, trade, and investment cooperation, actively create a new pattern of connectivity, expand new channels for cultural exchange, continue to broaden security cooperation, deepen counter-terrorism cooperation, and jointly combat the “three forces” of terrorism.

At the China-Central Asia Summit held in May in the northwestern Chinese city of Xi’an, which was attended by both Tokayev and Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, Ding said China is ready to work hand in hand with countries in Central Asia, including Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, to steadily advance the construction of the China-Central Asia cooperation mechanism, jointly safeguarding long-term stability and prosperity in the region.

(Cover: This aerial photo taken on April 28, 2023 shows a China-Europe freight train pulling out from the China-Kazakhstan (Lianyungang) logistics cooperation base in Lianyungang, east China’s Jiangsu Province. /Xinhua)

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