The Kazakh and Chinese Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Xi Jinping yesterday gave their blessing to representatives from the two countries signing off on agreements worth $8bn in investment, including construction of the Chukurbulak mud dam across the Khorgos River. The two leaders were meeting on the eve of this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, a political, economic and military organisation founded in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
A total of twelve agreements were expected to be rubber-stamped at the fourth session of the Kazakh-Chinese Business Council in Astana this week, with tax exemption, cinema production, the promotion of International Trade, and cooperation between the Library of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences also on the table.
Additional MoUs were expected to be signed covering taxation, transport, infrastructure and agriculture, with the two presidents agreeing to link Kazakhstan’s strategy of building an international logistics passage with China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ efforts to build the new Eurasia Continental Bridge — a rail link to Europe — as well as a corridor that links China with West Asia via Central Asia. They also pledged to connect China’s advantages in both land and maritime transportation with Kazakhstan’s need for access to maritime transportation.
Their talks opened “a new page in the Sino-Kazakhstan Partnership,” Nazarbayev said afterwards.
In a further sign of the strengthening of ties between China and Kazakhstan (traditionally part of Russia’s sphere of influence), this week also saw :
- a $300m investment fund established between subsidiaries of Kazakhstan’s Baiterek Group and the CITC Group of China. The China-Kazakhstan Nurly Investment Fund will focus on projects related to the One Belt One Road initiative, half of them in Kazakhstan and the other half elsewhere in the region, and
Citic Bank and the investment arm of state-run China Tobacco Co agreeing to buy a 60% stake in Altyn Bank, pending regulatory approval.
At last week’s Belt and Road summit in Beijing, China’s COSCO Shipping and the Port of Lianyungang committed to the acquisition of 49% stake in the Khorgos Gateway dry port.