NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is to travel to Beijing on Tuesday in a bid to strengthen the Central Asian country’s strategic relations with neighboring China.
The visit, Tokayev’s fourth abroad, and his first since elections in June, is to last until Thursday, on the eve of the People’s Republic of China’s 70th anniversary.
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said Tokayev is scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, after which the sides are expected to sign a joint declaration ushering in a new stage of a strategic partnership.
This new chapter of strategic relations between Nur-Sultan and Beijing is marked by the Belt and Road initiative, China’s ambitious international infrastructure development plan, and its path through Kazakhstan.
In addition, the minerals-and-oil rich Kazakh republic seeks to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on raw materials while increasing the exports of value-added products, in which the world’s second largest economy has invested.
Tokayev is also scheduled to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and National People’s Congress Chairman Li Zhanshu.
The 66-year-old head of state is to participate in the sixth Chinese-Kazakh business council meeting and deliver a speech at a conference at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
He is also scheduled to travel to the Chinese city of Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, where he is to visit the Chinese digital technology company Hikvision and meet with the founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, who announced on Tuesday that he is to step down as chairman of the multinational.
During the Kazakh president’s visit to China, a dozen agreements are to be signed on agriculture, information technology, e-commerce, trade and cooperation in emergency response.
Tokayev’s visit is to take place in the midst of increased anti-Chinese sentiments in Kazakhstan, where rallies took place in five cities last week to protest Chinese investment projects there.
According to the Kazakh Economy Ministry, trade between China and Kazakhstan during the first half of this year increased by 31 percent to reach $6.8 billion, while total Chinese investments during the same period increased by 22 percent to $362 million.