Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli addresses a forum on local cooperation between China and Kazakhstan in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Sept. 11, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
NANNING, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- China and Kazakhstan Monday held their first forum on local cooperation in the southern China city of Nanning, agreeing to further lift bilateral economic ties.
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and Kazakhstan First Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin attended the forum, held on the sidelines of the annual expo, business and investment summit between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Hailing fruitful cooperation between China and Kazakhstan in recent years, Zhang said in his speech that local cooperation between the two countries enjoys great potential.
He encouraged the two countries to make use of the opportunities of Belt and Road construction to consolidate cooperation in the areas of energy, resources, agriculture, cross-border transportation, tourism, culture and people-to-people exchanges, lift the quality of industrial cooperation and create new modes of cooperation.
Kazakhstan took part in this year's China-ASEAN Expo as a special partner.
During a meeting prior to the forum, Zhang told Mamin that China welcomes Kazakhstan as a special partner of the expo.
Stressing that China attaches great importance to the ties with Kazakhstan, Zhang said the two countries need to implement the consensus reached by the two presidents and resolve questions in cooperation via consultation.
He called on the two countries to strengthen connectivity and promote the development of the China-Kazakhstan Horgos International Frontier Cooperation Center to raise the comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level.
Mamin expressed appreciation for the opportunity to attend the China-ASEAN Expo and display Kazakh products.
Speaking highly of the healthy development of bilateral ties in the past 25 years, Mamin said Kazakhstan is willing to work with China to join the Belt and Road initiative with the country's Path of Light economic strategy, expanding cooperation in trade, production capacity, transportation and other areas.
The 14th China-ASEAN Expo is scheduled to be held from Sept. 12 to 15 in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
As a special partner, Kazakhstan will set up a pavilion and host a trade promotion conference and diverse cultural events during the expo.
Kazakhstan is China's largest trade partner in Central Asia. Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that bilateral trade jumped by 39.2 percent year on year to 9.27 billion U.S. dollars in the first seven months this year.