A widely anticipated high-level journey by Chinese president

Chinese President Hu Jintao will pay state visits to Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine from June 12 to 20 and attend the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Kazakh capital of Astana and the 15th International Economic Forum in St.Petersburg in Russia.

The visits come in a year when the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia and the SCO both celebrate their 10th anniversaries and at a time of oonstant development of China's ties with Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

From Beijing to Almaty, and from Moscow to Kiev, experts, scholars and officials, in interviews with Xinhua, reviewed China's exchanges with the three countries and looked at the future, with an anticipation of stronger cooperation and common development being the general consensus.

It is widely believed President Hu's visits will be highly successful, enhance China's relations with the three nations and give a fresh impetus to the development of the SCO.


In the decade since the birth of the SCO, political mutual trust between the member countries has been enhanced continuously, security cooperation has scored remarkable achievements, economic collaboration developed smoothly and the organization's internal mechanism increasingly improved.

Security and cooperation were called the "two wheels" of the SCO, said Zhang Deguang, the first secretary general of the SCO. In the field of security, SCO member countries met regularly on the regional security situation, and had set up regional anti-terrorism bodies and held several joint anti-terrorism exercises, Zhang said.

In economic matters, the SCO had proposed integration, committing itself to the realization of a free flow of commodities, funds, services and technologies by 2020, he said.

According to Valikhan Utebalyuly Tuleshov, director of the International Research Center of the Institute for World Economy and Politics, which is run by the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the SCO is a unique organization that promotes security, economic and cultural cooperation in a moderate way in today's international arena.

Tuleshov said President Hu's viewpoint on all-round development of relations between SCO member states had won broad approval in the region.

Hu had repeatedly mentioned the importance of enhancing the efficiency of the SCO's work, he said. "I believe this is an important direction of the organization's development."

At the SCO summit in Astana, leaders of SCO member countries are expected to make concrete deployments on such issues as further deepening political, security and economic cooperation, according to Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping.

Cheng said a declaration on commemorating the 10th anniversary of the SCO's establishment is expected to be signed to set guidelines for actions that the SCO will take in a certain period in the future, adding the Astana summit would be an important milestone in the SCO's development process.

The relations between China and Kazakhstan, which are good neighbors and important partners, have developed soundly since the establishment of the strategic partnership between them. And it is anticipated the Chinese president's visit to Kazakhstan, rotating chair of the SCO, will be significant for the two countries to deepen the strategic partnership and enhance cooperation in various areas.

Welcoming Hu's upcoming visit, J. Makasheva, a professor on regional studies and world economy from Kazakhstan's Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, said it was self-evident that China attached great importance to Kazakhstan and both countries were important players in the SCO and the region at large.

Besides the development of cooperation in traditional fields, both countries saw new growth in cooperation in the non-resources field, Makasheva said.

She added that, as a close neighbor of China, Kazakhstan could develop itself by drawing the support of China's competitive industries to the benefit of both nations.

Zhou Li, Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan, lauded the broad prospects for cooperation between China and Kazakhstan in the fields of politics, energy, non-resources, infrastructure and telecommunications, and within such multilateral frameworks as the SCO and the United Nations.

Deepening the cooperation between China and Kazakhstan met the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples and would contribute to the peace, security and stability of the region and of the world, Zhou said.

For 10 years, guided by the spirit and principles of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia, the two countries have developed high-level political mutual trust and carried out all-round strategic coordination and pragmatic cooperation, which has boosted their common development and rejuvenation, and brought an unprecedented development of bilateral strategic partnership.

The second decade of the 21st century provides an important opportunity for development in China and Russia, as well as for the further development of the relationship between the two countries. Hu's visit at the beginning of this period is expected to push bilateral strategic cooperative partnership to a higher level.

During Hu's visit, leaders of the two countries are expected to issue a joint statement on the 10th anniversary of the Treaty and multiple cooperation documents in such fields as energy and finance.

Mikhail Titarenko, head of the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and chairman of the Russia-China Friendship Association, said the Treaty presented a new type of international relations.

With the principles of equal rights, cooperation, mutual help and general responsibility for global security, the treaty was a model of respecting and abiding by the standards of international law, Titarenko said, adding the two countries had great collaboration potential in such fields as mutual investment, energy cooperation, joint ventures and tourism.

Titarenko said Hu, a longtime close friend of Russia, had made great efforts in promoting steady development of bilateral ties.

Meanwhile, Alexander Lukin, director of the Center for East Asia and SCO Studies at Moscow State University for International Relations, said Russia and China had been friendly neighbors and had formed a complete mechanism of cooperation.

Last year, China became Russia's largest trading partner and was a popular tourist destination for Russian citizens, Lukin said.

As Russia and China opened their borders, people-to-people exchanges had become increasingly intimate and frequent, he said.

He also said, during the visit, leaders of the two countries would review bilateral relations over the past decade and map out a blueprint for future cooperation. There was no doubt Hu's visit would help promote deeper ties with Russia, he said.

Moreover, during the 15th International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, China and Russia would discuss investment and collaboration issues, which would be crucial to further promoting bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

China-Ukraine relations have been developing smoothly since the two countries established diplomatic ties 19 years ago. Since 2010, high-level meetings between the two countries have enabled the two sides to reach important consensus and laid solid foundations for the continuous development of bilateral ties.

China was an important cooperative partner to any country, and Hu's coming visit to Ukraine meant a lot, said Olexandr Honcherenko, director of the Confucius Institute at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev.

Enhancing trade and economic cooperation would be the important topic dominating talks between the leaders of the two sides, Honcherenko said, adding the visit would also upgrade the level of cultural and educational cooperation between China and Ukraine.

Nurislam Zubayrov, an analyst with Ukraine's state television, shared Honcherenko's idea. He said the two countries were making efforts to enrich the contents of their cooperation, and Hu's visit was expected to lead to breakthroughs in the two countries' relationship.

Zhang Xiyun, Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine, hailed Hu's visit as a big event of China's diplomacy this year as well as a major part of China's devotion to developing relations with CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries and Central and Eastern European nations.

It would be the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Ukraine in a decade, and an epoch-making event in bilateral relations, Zhang said.