ASTANA (IDN) – China’s plans to establish the Silk Road Economic Belt, also known as the One Belt and One Road Initiative, are “great”, according to President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, reports Kazinform international news agency.
In an interview aired by China’s CCTV-13 channel, Nazarbayev stressed the importance of the state visit to Kazakhstan by Xi Jinping in 2013. It was then that the Chinese leader, in a speech at the Nazarbayev University, for the first time announced the global initiative to create the Silk Road Economic Belt.
“Today we can say that it was a great idea. Because in 2012 the world did not get out of the [global economic] crisis and all countries faced difficulties. At that time, this initiative, this idea was a must. It was pitched for all states and they gladly picked it up as an idea that would help them overcome the remnants of the crisis. This stimulated us to adopt our program ‘Nurly Zhol’, because the way to Europe runs across Kazakhstan, Russia, and beyond,” Nazarbayev said.
As part of the ‘Nurly Zhol’ government program, Kazakhstan carried out projects for the construction of a railway from Alashankou [in China] to Europe through Kazakhstan, the Khorgos Gateway dry port, and a new railway line that connected the country’s south with Europe. Kazakhstan completed the construction of 2,700-kilometer Western China-Western Kazakhstan highway.
“And it works today,” said the Kazakh President. “Alongside Khorgos, we were given the opportunity by the People’s Republic of China to create a terminal at Lianyungang Port in the Pacific Ocean. And now, containers from Southeast Asia, the countries that want to participate, are transported through that way to Europe within 12-15 days. Sea routes take up 2.5-3 times more, as you know.
“Also, there is a direct benefit here, and the number of containers doubles every year. This yields benefits for Kazakhstan in terms of getting the respective funds, and the enterprises along the way of this Belt are developing,” Nazarbayev said.
Moreover, Kazakhstan concluded agreements and contracts for the construction of dozens of new enterprises that benefit the country. “Besides, this road now enables us to enter the Caspian Sea. From the Caspian Sea southward through Iran we got connected with the Persian Gulf letting Chinese goods be safely transported through our country to the Caucasus Corridor.”
In 2017, Nazarbayev added, “we connected Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea, and Kazakhstan. We built a special port of Kuryk enabling cargoes to go through the Caucasus and Turkey across the Bosporus to Europe. A lot of work has been done over the years, and we see that this was very timely, very far-sighted idea that works for the benefit of our nations,” Nazarbayev underlined in the interview. [IDN-InDepthNews – 18 February 2018]
Photo: Kazakh President Nazarbayev. Credit: KazInform
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