China-Kazakhstan cooperation projects set example for "Belt-Road" countries
Over the past three years, China-Kazakhstan cooperation projects within the framework of the "Belt-Road" Initiative have yielded early fruits, setting an example to other countries along the Belt and the Road. "Many countries have shown interests in the initiative, in hope of knowing the initiative better and realizing the initiative through investment and economic cooperation," Shigeo Katsu, president of Nazarbayev University, told Xinhua.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was brought up by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes. Over 70 countries and organizations have voiced support for and willingness to join the initiative. Over 30 countries and international organizations have signed memorandums of understanding to jointly undertake construction of projects within the framework of the initiative. China and other 17 countries along the Belt and Road have jointly built 46 China Overseas Eoconomic and Trade Cooperation Areas (OETCAs), creating more than 60,000 jobs for locals.
According to the Chinese Embassy to Kazakhstan, China and Kazakhstan have reached 51 agreements on promoting the industrial production capacity, with the total investment amounting to 26.5 billion U.S. dollars. The 12 projects already launched or to be launched, including the construction of light rails and subway expansion, take up 4 billion dollars.
The two countries have made great progress in inter-connectivity. Large-scale cooperation between the two countries therein helps improve local people's livelihood, said Ren Shi, minister-counselor of the Chinese Embassy to Kazakhstan.
These cooperation projects will bring about great changes in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries, said Katsu who was present when Xi was delivering a speech promoting the "Belt-Road" Initiative at Nazarbayev University on September 7, 2013. "The ongoing construction of the Eurasian transport corridor will make landlocked Kazakhstan an important transit hub that connects China and Europe," Katsu added.
Nazarbayev University, one of the youngest universities in Kazakhstan, is always dedicated to research and innovation in order to boost long-term development of the country. To enhance the Kazakh people's understanding of China, it has launched joint research projects with Chinese universities and research institutions, and has established a research center for China studies, said Katsu.
These positive developments are in accordance with Xi's emphasis on the need to step up policy communication, improve road inter-connectivity, promote unimpeded trade, monetary circulation and enhance understanding between the two peoples. Katsu and his colleagues will revisit Beijing and Shanghai in September this year, in hope of deepening cooperation with Chinese research institutions on Belt and Road studies. Nazarbayev University has already held consultations with several Chinese universities, such as Beijing University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, and Beijing Normal University.
At Nazarbayev University where courses are normally taught in English, an increasing number of students are now learning Chinese and many express their wishes to study in China in the near future. The Chinese Embassy to Kazakhstan and Kazakhstan Diplomatic Service have jointly initiated a service named "Quick Chinese," in order to help Kazakh people learn Chinese, and promote academic exchanges between Chinese and Kazakh universities. The initiative is a long-term arrangement. In efforts to promote inter-connectivity, it is important to maintain long-term cultural and academic exchanges, Ren said. China has coordinated comprehensively with Kazakhstan on various development strategies, setting an example to other countries along the Belt and Road. With growing cooperation among countries along the Belt and the Road, a promising future is yet to come, Ren added.