ASTANA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- As the place where Chinese President Xi Jinping first announced his visionary Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, Kazakhstan is hoping to further tap cooperation potential with China during President Xi's upcoming visit.
From June 7 to June 10, Xi will pay a state visit to Kazakhstan, attend the 17th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State and the opening ceremony of the World Expo in Astana.
It has only been four years since the initiation of the Silk Road Economic Belt, but its impact has grown deep, generating business opportunities, new jobs and hopes for countries and peoples involved.
Yernar Nuerlan, a 26-year-old Kazakh young man, told Xinhua on Tuesday that he was very happy about the salary he is earning as a truck driver transporting goods between China and Kazakhstan at the Khorgos border in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in western China.
"I quit the job now, because I have decided to study international trade management in Shanghai. I think there are better opportunities for me with the Belt and Road Initiative," he said.
Nuerlan, who named himself "little dragon" in Mandarin, had studied Chinese in Shanghai University for four months before taking a job in Khorgos, a historical port along the ancient Silk Road that was revived under the Belt and Road Initiative.
"The Belt and Road Initiative will connect economies in Asia, Europe and Africa. For Kazakhstan, it is a very good opportunity for development," said Nurmukhammed Bazar, a 22-year-old Kazakh who arranges honeymoon trips in Maldives for Chinese newlyweds.
Speaking fluently in Mandarin, Bazar told Xinhua that he is excited about the increasing Chinese investment in Kazakhstan and cooperation projects between the two countries in recent years.
"More and more Kazakh youths are studying Chinese and Chinese culture. Young people here tend to keep an open and appreciative mind towards China," Bazar said.
"I know that President Xi Jinping will visit Kazakhstan very soon. I would like to tell him that I'd love to see our two countries getting closer even more in the future," he said.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Kazakhstan. The trip will be Xi's third visit to the central Asian country and the 16th meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
At the Baiterek monument square at the heart of Astana, Roza Valini, a local vendor, told Xinhua that she believes doing business with China has brought real benefits to the Kazakhs.
"In the past years, Chinese products have made our lives easier and better. Now President Xi and President Nazarbayev are building new roads and railways. I am confident that together we can do even better," she said.
At the Chinese pavilion at the Expo on Tuesday, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Olimov told Xinhua that he came to the venue for a preview, because "China has been one of the leaders in clean energy like solar, wind and hydroenergy."
"The Chinese pavilion has demonstrated President Xi Jinping's green development concept. China not only applies it to itself, but also promotes clean energy in countries along the 'Belt and Road' routes," Olimov said.
According to Chinese officials, Xi's presence at the opening ceremony of the Astana World Expo, which bears the theme "future energy," shows not only China's full support to Kazakhstan, but also the importance it attaches to new energy.
On the development of the SCO, Olimov said he believes that the accession of India and Pakistan will render the SCO new momentum of development.
With the accession of India and Pakistan, the SCO will cover three-fifths of the Eurasian continent with nearly half of the world's population, making the regional organization the biggest in the world in terms of area and population.
India and Pakistan will complete the process of joining the SCO during the Astana summit, the first time for the SCO to expand membership since its founding in 2001.
The founding members of the SCO are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. China will assume the SCO rotating presidency after the Astana summit and will host a summit in 2018.