Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hands with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev as they signed a China-Kazakhstan joint statement and witnessed the inking of a series of bilateral cooperation documents after their talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, June 8, 2017. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling)
ASTANA, June 8 (Xinhua) -- China and Kazakhstan vowed Thursday to enhance cross-border connectivity and boost cooperation in security and international affairs as Chinese President Xi Jinping is paying a state visit to the Central Asian country.
Consolidating the bilateral relationship is a diplomatic priority for both countries and that the alignment of the development strategies, namely the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Kazakhstan's "Nurly Zhol," or "Bright Path" in the Kazakh language, has far-reaching significance, said a joint statement released after Xi and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev held talks.
The two countries agreed to develop more international cargo train services, starting from China via Kazakhstan to Central Asia, Europe and Gulf countries and to effectively lower the logistics cost, making railway freight a major solution for cargo transportation between Asia and Europe by 2025, it said.
The two countries will strengthen cooperation in cross-border railway, road and port development, inspection and quarantine as well as in improving customs clearance efficiency, the statement said.
The statement said that a stable, secure and progressing Central Asia serves the interests of China and Kazakhstan. The two countries will work with other regional members bilaterally and within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and fight the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism.
Both sides said that they will deepen exchanges between their defense and law enforcement departments in sharing intelligence and combating the "three evil forces" and transnational organized crime, according to the statement.
China and Kazakhstan will enhance border control, prevent and fight against terrorists sneaking in and out and smuggling of drugs and weapons, it said.
As the United Nations plays an irreplaceable role in maintaining world peace and security, the two countries believe the UN Security Council reform should be based on extensive consultation and consensus, and they are against reform plans that remain sharply divided between parties, the statement said.
Meanwhile, both sides stressed in the statement that political settlement is the only correct solution for the Syrian crisis.
China applauded Kazakhstan's efforts to resolve the issue and regarded the Astana talks on Syria as an important platform for the reconciliation process, while Kazakhstan said that it supports China's constructive role in pushing for a political settlement.
The two sides also discussed institutionalizing the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the possibility of transforming it into an international organization, according to the statement.
CICA is a forum aimed at strengthening cooperation for peace, security and stability in Asia. It has 26 members, including China, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Thailand and others.
The idea of CICA was first proposed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in October 1992 at the 47th Session of the UN General Assembly and China hosted the fourth CICA summit in Shanghai in 2014.
Xi arrived here Wednesday for a state visit to Kazakhstan and the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO.