By Zheng Lifei
For Ikram Adyrbekov, Kazakhstan's ambassador to China, the
cultural events that make up the Days of Culture of Kazakhstan in
China are symbolic of the strong cultural ties between the two
"I strongly believe that cultural ties provide additional
impetus to efforts to promote the genuine strategic partnership
proclaimed by presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Hu Jintao in
2005," Adyrbekov said.
The ambassador hopes the weeklong cultural gala, which opens
today in Beijing, will help Chinese people understand Kazakh
culture's blending of tradition and modernity, the Orient and
Occident and nomadic and sedentary ways of living.
"The leaders of both states, during their regular and efficient
encounters, have consistently accentuated the importance of
expanding the cultural and humanitarian spheres," the ambassador
"That kind of interaction is regarded as a major tool of
grass-roots diplomacy, which has proved quite helpful for 16 years
of diplomatic relations between the two countries," he said.
Adyrbekov assumed the ambassadorship in May.
While growing numbers of Chinese people have been visiting
Kazakhstan for sightseeing and business in recent years, more and
more people from Kazakhstan are also showing interest in China.
The increasing interest of the Kazakh people in China, its
civilization, language and culture, "is demonstrated by the fact
that now up to 3,000 Kazakh students are studying in Chinese
universities and colleges," the ambassador said.
The figure was 1,825 last year, according to Ministry of
"The people of Kazakhstan have strong feelings for China and the
Chinese people. It seems quite logical to me since our ancestors
lived side-by-side for many centuries, mutually enhancing each
other's international politics, everyday life, culture and
traditions," Adyrbekov noted.
"Kazakhstan people regard modern China as an influential,
constructive and friendly neighbor, which has proved to be a
reliable political and economic partner," the ambassador said.
"The Kazakh society and establishment regard the future
development of equal and pragmatic interaction as a firm guarantee
of the stable and successful development of both Kazakhstan and
Central Asia in general," he added.
Yet the cultural and humanitarian ties are just part of the
relationship between China and Kazakhstan, which also includes
economic, trade and political connections that have been blossoming
since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1992.
Kazakhstan is now China's biggest trading partner in Central
Asia. The volume of trade between China and Kazakhstan reached $8.3
billion last year. The figure was $370 million in 1992.
The amount of trade between two countries, the ambassador said,
is a crucial parameter of bilateral economic cooperation.
The two countries have vowed to make concerted efforts to push
the annual volume of bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2015,
according to a joint communiqu signed this year during a visit by
President Hu Jintao to Kazakhstan in August.
"It's really satisfying that this year Kazakhstan and China will
surpass the important psychological milestone of $10 billion worth
of bilateral trade," the ambassador said.
Given the brisk expansion of trade in recent years, the two
countries could hit their target well ahead of time, possibly by
Energy cooperation, the ambassador said, is a major part of
Sino-Kazakh trade and economic cooperation.
The first stage of the multi-billion-yuan Kazakhstan-China oil
pipeline was completed in 2005, and the two countries have agreed
to construct a second stage, which will connect China to oil
deposits in the Caspian region, the ambassador said.
The net annual output of oil produced by Chinese companies in
Kazakhstan, such as Sinopec and CNPC, exceeds 13 million tons, he
"For Kazakhstan, the dynamic development of energy cooperation
with China is of great importance as it fully corresponds to our
desire to diversify export routes for our hydrocarbons," the
However, he said that though the two countries' bilateral
economic cooperation is not balanced, they are aware of the problem
and have decided to improve the situation.
The two countries have vowed to balance imports and exports and
agreed to continue the transition from implementing large-scale oil
and gas projects to conducting major cooperation in non-resource
fields, according to the communiqu signed in August.
On the political front, "Kazakhstan and China have established
very confidential and efficient cooperation in all spheres," the
China has given many security guarantees to Kazakhstan: for not
possessing nuclear weapons in 1995; upon the settlement of borders
in 1999; an agreement on the use and protection of trans-border
rivers in 2001.
Beyond the bilateral framework, Kazakhstan and China have also
developed strategic cooperation through various regional and global
structures, Adyrbekov said.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is one of them, he
"Kazakhstan fully supports the main purpose of the SCO," the
ambassador said. With regard to its external relations, the SCO is
not an exclusive block and is not directed against any other
country, region or organization.
"We attach great importance to the SCO and regard cooperation
within the organization as a milestone priority of our foreign
policy," the Kazakh ambassador said.
(China Daily October 15, 2007)