China, Kazakhstan tightly connected by both friendship and strong strategic partnership - Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi

The three-day state visit of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to China  at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Mr. Yang Jiechi, tell us about the program of the upcoming visit of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to China. What issues are going to be discussed at the meeting of the two Leaders? Whether any documents are going to be signed?

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev was with state visit to China on February 21-23 at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao which is going to be the first high-level meeting of the two Presidents this year. It also carries very important meaning for further development of the Chinese-Kazakh relations.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev is a very good friend of ours, highly respected by Chinese people. China attaches great importance to the upcoming visit of the Kazakh Leader and intensively prepares for the reception. As far as I know, official negotiations are to be held between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Nursultan Nazarbayev during the visit. Besides, the meetings with Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao are also planned. The sides are expected to have talks on deepening of bilateral relations, expanding of business cooperation, activation of multilateral interaction as well as  international and regional issues of mutual interest. Moreover, joint political documents, a number of documents on bilateral cooperation between the state bodies of the two countries are expected to be signed. While in China Nursultan Nazarbayev will have a meeting with representatives of business community and visit the city of Tianjin.
What is your estimation of the level of political relations between China and Kazakhstan? What are the priorities and prospects for further development of political, economic, cultural and humanitarian and scientific cooperation of these two countries?

China and Kazakhstan are not just good neighbouring countries but also important strategic partners. The Chinese-Kazakh relations have been steadily developing since their establishment 20 years ago. The last five years have been even more efficient in terms of dynamic development of strategic partnership.

The visits at the highest level take place quite often. For instance, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Kazakhstan twice for six months since December of 2009 to June of 2010. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited China in April of 2009. The next state visit of the Kazakh President is scheduled for this February. Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin also paid an official and friendly visit to Kazakhstan. Premier Wen Jiabao met with Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov when he attended the meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government that was held in Dushanbe. The Kazakh Premier, in his turn, took part in the opening ceremony of Shanghai EXPO.

Cooperation in the spheres of trade and economics, energy, investment, transport and infrastructure are constantly expanded. The latest results are very notable. The trade turnover between China and Kazakhstan made USD 20.4 bln in 2010 by 44.5 percent more than in 2009. Besides, the countries consistently cooperate in such organizations as the UN, SCO and CICA supporting each other in key issues and effectively protecting mutual interests.

Kazakhstan and China have great potential and prospects for developing good neighborly relations, friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation. The firm foundation has already been laid which would be of an important meaning for the two countries and prosperity of the whole region.
How does China consider the role of Kazakhstan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?

The establishment of the SCO is a grand event in the international political life of the modern epoch. The Organization has gained dynamic development for the past ten years and reached unexpected result having also played an important role in ensuring security and stability in the region.

Kazakhstan is not just a SCO member state but it is an initiator of the Organization. President Nursultan Nazarbayev is one of its founders. Mr. Nazarbayev has contributed a lot to development of the SCO for all these years and it is impossible to overestimate his personal contribution and the contribution of Kazakhstan to establishment and development of this Organization.

This year is marked by the 10th anniversary of the SCO establishment. Kazakhstan will host the anniversary Summit in Astana this year which is going to be a historic event in development of the SCO. I am confident that under auspices of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and thanks to Kazakh colleagues' efforts the Summit will be a success and direct the SCO into a new decade of development and productive work for good of our peoples.
How do you assess the cooperation level between China and the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the role of Kazakhstan in the OIC during the period of its presidency in the Organization in 2011?

Being an important intergovernmental organization the OIC plays a positive role in deepening solidarity and cooperation of the Islamic states. The contacts and interaction between this Organization and China have been activated recently. Chinese delegation attended the 37th meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers as a guest in May last year. In June OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu paid a successful visit to China at the invitation of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The sides published the Joint Press Communique emphasizing an intention to strengthen friendly relations and cooperation in the political, economic, trade and cultural spheres through joint efforts. Deputy Foreign Minister of China Zhang Jun visited the OIC headquarters where he met with Secretary General Ihsanoglu in December. A number of agreements aimed at friendly exchange between China, OIC and Islamic countries were achieved during the visit.

China attaches great importance to the positive role of the OIC, respects religious and cultural peculiarities of the Islamic states, supports them in the issues regarding the interests of the sides.

Kazakhstan chairs the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers this year. On this occasion the Chinese side congratulates your country. I believe, as a chairman Kazakhstan will contribute to further strengthening of solidarity and cooperation within the Organization. China is ready to activate cooperation with Kazakhstan in this issue, promoting development of relations between China and the OIC as well as the Islamic states.

There are a lot of Kazakhstan's citizens living in China. The Government of China provides care and support to our citizens. Kazakhstan expresses sincere appreciation for it.

Kazakhstan's citizens in China and Chinese citizens in Kazakhstan are like a 'bridge of friendship' between the two countries made a great contribution to helping in development of the Chinese-Kazakh friendly relations and cooperation in the sphere of social economy, culture and others.
Kazakhstan held the first, in its history, grand sports event - the 7th Asian Winter Games in 2011. How do you appraise them?

Our congratulations to you on successful organization of these Games. It was the first time when your country hosted such a large-scale sports event. The Government of Kazakhstan paid much attention to the Asian Games and the organization of them which resulted in overwhelming success. The level of organization acceded expectations. Sports facilities are of the highest international level. The event drew so much attention of mass media. Participants from many countries positively appraised the work of the Organizing Committee and volunteers. I would also like to take an opportunity and congratulate the athletes of Kazakhstan on the success at the Games - the first place in medal rankings.

We would also like to express gratitude for warm reception at the Games.
Thank you for the interview!