Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Kazakhstan, which concluded on Nov 4, will boost relations as well as the coordination between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, experts said.
Yang Cheng, deputy director of the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, said Kazakhstan is an important country on the Silk Road Economic Belt－indeed, President Xi Jinping first announced the initiative in its capital, Astana, in 2013. The Central Asian country is looking forward to further cooperation with China.
Shakhrat Nuryshev, Kazakhstan’s ambassador to China, said that China was the first country to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan and established diplomatic relations with the former Soviet republic in 1992.
Nuryshev said the Belt and Road Initiative, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Eurasian Economic Union can be more connected and provide a clear direction for multinational cooperation.
Kerry Brown, of the China Studies Center at Sydney University, said China would like to provide Eurasian Economic Union countries, especially those that are involved in the Silk Road Economic Belt, opportunities and projects with long-term, low-interest loans, similar to those given in Africa for big infrastructure projects.
Kamel Mellahi, a professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom, said: “Regional connectivity is the main objective of the strategy of China’s Silk Road. There is little doubt that it’s a win-win project for all countries involved.”
Kazakhstan has achieved great progress under the leadership of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Yang said, however its resource-based economy also suffered from the rapid downturn in oil prices, which has nonetheless brought opportunities to Sino-Kazakh cooperation in non-energy sectors.
Yang said the coordination of initiatives provided opportunities to those countries that want to raise their competitiveness in international markets. Such coordination could result in constructive reform in their resource-based economies and also see China and Eurasian Economic Union countries build an efficient industry chain, allowing greater capital input.
Yang said that to coordinate the two initiatives, “all countries need to establish greater industrial cooperation, and not only industrial cooperation, but also including capital, talent, technology, markets and cultural cooperation”.