China backs Kazakhstan’s bid to join BRICS: Xi tells Tokayev

China backs Kazakhstan’s bid to join BRICS: Xi tells Tokayev

Kazakh President Tokayev hosts Chinese leader in Astana ahead of summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization

By Elena Teslova and Riyaz ul Khaliq

MOSCOW / ISTANBUL (AA) – China on Wednesday put its weight behind Kazakhstan in its bid to join BRICS, a group of emerging economies formed in 2006.

“On the journey toward modernization, China and Kazakhstan travel side by side,” President Xi Jinping told his counterpart and host Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Astana as the two sides held high-level talks.

Stressing “fine tradition of mutual support” and deepening political “mutual trust, greater synergy” between the two sides, Xi said: “China supports Kazakhstan’s bid to join the BRICS cooperation mechanism."

BRICS includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. In January this year, it welcomed Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the UAE as full members.

Xi is on a state visit to Kazakhstan where he will also attend a summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The Chinese president called on two sides to “stand firmly for each other’s core interests, and be each other’s trustworthy and reliable partners.”

“No matter how the international situation changes, China will remain steadfast in its commitment to the China-Kazakhstan friendship,” Xi told Tokayev.

For his part, the Kazakh president backed China’s initiative of "building a community of the common destiny of mankind,” expressing his nation’s readiness to “constructively support” issues related to its implementation.

“Our position on the ‘one China’ policy remains unchanged. We advocate cooperation in the fight against the ‘forces of three evils’ – terrorism, separatism and extremism,” Tokayev said.

He said China is Kazakhstan's largest trading partner, noting that the two countries have “every opportunity to increase mutual trade turnover.”

China also holds a leading position in investments in the economy of Kazakhstan, which have reached $24 billion over the past 15 years, Tokayev added.

“The mutual visa-free regime has entered into force. The Year of Kazakhstan's Tourism in China is currently underway. All these measures give an additional impetus to strengthening cooperation between our countries in various fields," said the Kazakh leader.

The two sides exchanged multiple bilateral cooperation documents as Xi and Tokayev attended a virtual ceremony launching direct express freight transport between China and Europe through the Caspian Sea.

“With this, a multidimensional, diverse network has taken shape, connecting the two countries through road, railway, air link and pipeline,” Xi said.

The two sides also witnessed inauguration of Kazakh and Chinese cultural centers and the Kazakh campus of the Beijing Language and Culture University.

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