Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli (L) meets with Kazak Prime Minister Karim Masimov in Astana, Kazakhstan, June 25, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]
ASTANA — Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli and Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov met in Astana on June 25 and agreed to align their countries’ growth strategies and boost bilateral cooperation on production capacity.
China and Kazakhstan are indeed comprehensive strategic partners, said Zhang, who arrived in Astana on Wednesday for a three-day visit to Kazakhstan.
He recalled that during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Kazakhstan in May and Masimov’s trip to China in March, the two sides reached important consensus on consolidating bilateral ties and practical cooperation, including collaboration on production capacity.
The vice-premier said his visit was aimed at promoting implementation of the agreements the two nations have reached and further beefing up bilateral all-around cooperation.
The Silk Road Economic Belt initiative brought up by Xi and the “Path of Light” economic strategy proposed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev enjoy a high degree of compatibility, Zhang pointed out.
He added that integrating the two initiatives will inject more dynamism into and provide more opportunities for the economic development and practical cooperation in the Eurasian continent.
The Silk Road Economic Belt is part of what is commonly known as the “Belt and Road” initiative, which was proposed by Xi in 2013 and also includes the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.
The grand vision brings together countries in Asia, Europe and even Africa via overland and maritime networks, with the purpose of boosting infrastructure building, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges.
Noting that Kazakhstan is a prioritized partner in Belt construction and an important member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Zhang said China is ready to work with Kazakhstan to dovetail the Belt with the “Path of Light” and the development of the EAEU.
Such coordination, he added, will help build the two countries into a community of common interests and shared destiny and maintain regional peace and stability.
The vice-premier called on the two sides to focus the coupling of their initiatives on specific areas and projects so as to reap early harvests as soon as possible.
Zhang said bilateral cooperation on production capacity has begun to take shape, with more and more items added to the list of early harvests and enthusiasm for cooperation on steady rise among local governments and enterprises of both countries.
The mutually beneficial cooperation should be carried out by market forces under government guidance, Zhang said, while urging the two sides to accelerate talks on production capacity and investment cooperation, promote implementation of relevant projects and offer reciprocal visa facilitation for those involved.
China and Kazakhstan should also discuss the establishment of a fund for production capacity cooperation and sign a new edition of the agreement on encouraging and protecting mutual investment at an early date, Zhang said.
As Kazakhstan is to host the 2017 World Expo focusing on future energy, China is willing to seize the opportunity and step up cooperation with Kazakhstan on nuclear, wind and solar energy, he added.
The two sides, he suggested, should continue to promote infrastructure interconnectivity by enhancing policy coordination, improving efficiency of custom clearance and safeguarding transport security.
Zhang also called on the two sides to expand and deepen bilateral transport and logistic cooperation and build an express line of sea-land transportation between China and Central Asia.
China, he added, is ready to carry out finance and investment cooperation with Kazakhstan within the frameworks of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund and the Silk Road Fund.
In addition, the two sides should fully utilize the China-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee to prepare for the upcoming meeting of the heads of government, said the vice-premier, who also congratulated Kazakhstan on concluding the negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
For his part, Masimov spoke highly of the development of bilateral relations and thanked China for supporting Kazakhstan in joining the WTO.
He said Kazakhstan will closely cooperate with China and actively participate in the “Belt and Road” initiative, and stands ready to advance bilateral cooperation on production capacity for more early harvests.
He added that his country will work with China to continuously deepen practical cooperation in such areas as infrastructure interconnectivity, construction of oil and gas pipelines, clean energy, finance, high technology and agriculture.
After the meeting, Zhang and Masimov witnessed the signing of some cooperation documents between the two countries.
Zhang also held talks with Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev on June 25.
The two sides exchanged views on implementing the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and advancing cooperation in production capacity, energy, trade and economy, space technology, and local-government and people-to-people exchanges.
They decided to hold the seventh meeting of the China-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee in China in the second half of this year.
Kazakhstan is the final leg of Zhang’s four-nation trip, which has taken him to Russia, Lithuania and Serbia.
Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli (3rd L, front) meets with Kazak Prime Minister Karim Masimov (4th R) in Astana, Kazakhstan, June 25, 2015.[Photo/Xinhua]