On May 12 on the eve of the state visit to China Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev gave an interview on China’s CCTV, Kazinform reports.
The Head of State answered the questions of the Leaders Talk program concerning the prospects for the development of political, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Kazakhstan and China, history and today’s Kazakhstan-China relations, global and regional policy.
Q: You repeatedly said that you wanted to build a new Kazakhstan with fairness at the center with all. How would you summarize your philosophies of governance, where do you want to take Kazakhstan?
Tokayev: I want to put my country just in the center of the Eurasian continent. Kazakhstan plays a very important role in bridging up trade routes, international relations on this part of the world. I believe that Kazakhstan’s future must be bright. That’s why I put my all efforts in order to promote further development of Kazakhstan as an advanced country with a very developed economy.
Kazakhstan will be successful in pursuing these kinds of foreign policy. It is our historic destiny to be peaceful, to benefit from friendly relationship with all countries. First of all, with our immediate neighbors, where China plays an extremely important role.
Q: Let’s talk about China-Kazakhstan relations. This relationship has been described by both sides as permanent, comprehensive strategic partnership. This is very unique in China’s foreign policy. Actually, I learned that you are personally invested in the coining of this term. Can you tell us the thinking behind it, and how would you position China in Kazakhstan’s current foreign policy?
Tokayev: China plays a very important role in our foreign policy. In September 2019, I went to China to pay a state visit. We had excellent talks with Chairman Xi Jinping. We agreed to pursue mutually beneficial policy of bringing our peoples together. It means that we should enjoy a strategic partnership, eternal friendship between both countries. I think that it is very much in the interests, in the long-standing interests of the Kazakh people, and I am very much committed to this kind of policy. And, of course, we have no doubts about the importance of having strategic partnership with our immediate neighbor, China.
What will be your response to some commentaries that say that China and Central Asia are moving closer towards one another? And, you know, they’re concerned about this growing closeness or intimacy in this geopolitical balance.
There should be no suspicions about that, because our intentions quite open, sincere. The fact is that China number two, in terms of its economy in the world. So we should acknowledge the role of China, and we need to build a very good relationship with your country.
Q: How do you want to advance bilateral economic relations going forward?
Tokayev: We have excellent results as far as economic cooperation is concerned, but we need to go forward. That’s why I’m hopeful about my future visit to Xi An, which is a cradle of Chinese civilization. I believe that we need new agreements, new deals, because we shouldn’t stay just on the ground and wait for some results to come. I think that we need to take efforts to push forward our economic ties in this complex world. I’m very much committed to developing cooperation and friendly ties between the youth of both countries. The younger generation must know about each other quite well.
Last January, there was a video summit between China and Central Asian leaders. And then in February, you along with four other Central Asian leaders attended the opening of Beijing Winter Olympics. And then there will be this China – Central Asia Summit in May. Is it your sense, too, that China and Central Asia are moving closer towards each other not just economically, but also strategically and in particular, what are your expectations for this China – Central Asia Summit, the first of its kind?
My expectations from the Summit, which is going to take place in Xi An, I mean, Central Asia and China, are very high. China plays an increasingly important role in our part of the world, in Central Asia, and it’s quite natural. I think that all my colleagues in Central Asia would agree with me that we benefit from our relations with China. And we’ll be doing our best in order to promote this kind of cooperation.
Q: Talking about Taiwan, it is hot button issue. Actually, you recently said that, actually said on many occasions, that it is very important to uphold territorial integrity for all countries. Recently you rejected cause for Taiwan independence. Can you elaborate?
Tokayev: We believe that it’s a question which should be absolutely clear to everybody in the world. There should be no two Chinas. Taiwan is a part of China. So the principle of the territorial integrity of all states has been fixed in the Charter of the United Nations, which must be respected. And this principle also has been put in the declaration and in the Charter of the Shanghai Organization for Cooperation. So once again, for us, it’s absolutely clear. Taiwan is a part of China. And we have no hesitations about that.
Q: Another very important regional organization that is taking a global importance is Shanghai Cooperation Organization. And this year, Kazakhstan will assume the chairmanship of SCO. How do you look at its role in the evolving geopolitical landscape and what do you think chairmanship from Kazakhstan can bring to this organization?
Tokayev: The Shanghai Organization for Cooperation has proven to be a very promising, very influential organization. And it’s about China, which has greatly supported the Shanghai Organization for Cooperation from the very beginning. This organization started its activities in Shanghai in 1996. And as Foreign Minister of this country, I have been participating in the launching ceremony. So I’m proud to have been involved in the activities of the Shanghai Organization for Cooperation from the very beginning. And of course, Kazakhstan as a future chairman and host country of the Summit of this organization will be doing its outmost in order to increase the potential of the SCO. This organization, as I have already said, became a very famous and very influential one in the current world. ///Kazinform, 12 May 2023