The second day of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's official visit to Beijing began with participation in the opening ceremony of the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
The Kazakh leader thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for the traditionally warm hospitality and impeccable organisation of the forum.
In his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted the key role of China in ensuring global security and called it the locomotive of economic and technological development.
- In the current geopolitical environment, the Belt and Road initiative has become a sought-after international project and a major platform for cooperation. The project reflects the economic power of the China and its aspiration to new heights at the global level. It is highly symbolic that ten years ago it was in Kazakhstan that you first outlined the far-reaching Belt and Road initiative, thus becoming its main driving force. Marking this important anniversary, today we can confidently say that your initiative has proved its relevance, has been recognised by the international community, and has turned into a grand project of global scale," - the Head of State said.
As Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted, the Belt and Road project has become an effective platform for unprecedentedly large-scale international cooperation.
- Thanks to the investments of the countries participating in this project, over 150 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa are connected by an extensive network of railways, high-speed motorways and sea routes. The project has become a common good for our states, which in the conditions of colossal turbulence of the world economy can provide an effective response to the most complex challenges of our time," - the President indicated.
It was also noted that this initiative makes an invaluable contribution to the development of cultural and humanitarian ties, strengthening good-neighbourliness, friendship and mutual understanding between the project countries.
– It would not be an exaggeration to say that Belt and Road gave impetus to the renaissance of the Great Silk Road. Therefore, the Chinese initiative is rightly called a megaproject of the XXI century," - the leader of Kazakhstan said.
The Head of State shared the achievements of Kazakhstan, which, in his opinion, being in the centre of Eurasia, linking North and South, West and East, plays a special role in the implementation of the initiative. According to him, being a huge landlocked state with a common long border with China, Kazakhstan is making serious efforts to become a transport and logistics hub of international importance.
- Currently, Kazakhstan accounts for about 85 per cent of all land transit traffic from China to Europe. Attaching great importance to the development of the transit transport industry, over the past 15 years we have allocated over $35 billion for this purpose. We have launched such major infrastructure projects as the Kazakh-Chinese logistics centre in Lianyungang, the Khorgos dry port, the Western Europe-Western China transit highway, and the railway corridor from China to Iran. At the same time, we do not stop at what we have achieved," - said Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev.
He shared plans to lay 1,300 kilometres of new railway tracks within three years, open a third railway checkpoint on the border with China and build new dry ports at Bakhty and Kalzhat. These are real examples of Kazakhstan's major economic projects being paired with the global Chinese initiative.
In his speech, the Head of State emphasised the key role of the flagship project - the Trans-Caspian international transport route. Connecting China, Central Asia and Europe, it can become the "continental bridge of the Belt and Road", reducing by half the time of freight traffic and significantly reducing transport costs.
- Two intergovernmental agreements on the development of the Trans-Caspian route have been signed between Kazakhstan and China. I am confident that they will soon bring tangible results. For more effective coordination of our efforts, I propose to create a Partnership network of major strategic ports, logistics centres and postal hubs. We are also interested in establishing joint production of transport ships and containers. Kazakhstan is ready to become a reliable air bridge and a convenient harbour for the world's leading airlines, ensuring a steady flow of passengers and cargo," - the President said.
In his opinion, the partnership within the framework of the Digital Silk Road initiative, which is a new global project, offers great opportunities.
- I am confident that building a new model of digital and intellectual interaction will make a significant contribution to the innovative development of our economies. In the new decade of the Belt and Road initiative, Kazakhstan will continue to fully contribute to our common success. I am confident that under your wise leadership, dear President Xi Jinping, the People's Republic of China will achieve even greater success in building a new era of China based on the concept of common historical destinies of different peoples," -Kassym-Jomart Tokayev concluded his speech.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres also addressed the forum. More than 20 heads of state and representatives of over 130 countries and international organisations are participating in the forum events.