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China, Russia and Nazarbaev

China, Russia and Nazarbaev published on

Xi Jinping’s visit to Kazakhstan contributed to concluding a set of agreements on Chinese investments and cooperation projects, of which the most significant is the deal on the CNPC’s participation in Kashagan. Chinese buy inroads in Kazakhstan and approach Kazakh authorities in multiple projects in energy sector. The development of this cooperation is closely watched by Russia, which is very cautious about China’s growing presence in Central Asia. Nazarbaev apparently does not want to put all eggs in one basket and become overly dependent on the raising Chinese power. He maintains cooperation with Russia in varied areas and lifts the cooperation to new levels. Yesterday Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrisov signed the protocol on amendments to the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Alliance of Russia and Kazakhstan in the 21st century.The document is 95 percent ready and is scheduled to be signed in the framework of the 10th Forum of Interregional Cooperation in Yekaterinburg in November. Recently officials from both countries on numerous occasions praised very good relations and strong cooperation between both countries. Nazarbaev praised relations between Russia and Kazakhstan and work of ministries of foreign affairs and embassies. He supported Russian’s approach to the solution of the conflict in Syria. Idrisov proposed the cooperation ine the field of uranium enrichment. Lavrov announced that Medvedev will visit Kazakhstan and expressed his wish to see the countries of Central Asia experiencing undisturbed, stable development and said that Russia and Kazakhstan will cooperate to maintain peace and security in the region.

But worth noticing is that in this speech he also clearly pointed out some Russia’s interests in the region, like securing the safety of 5 mln Russians who live in Central Asia countries and cooperation in fighting extremists. There are of course many other Russia’s interests that were not mentioned by Lavrov and it’s obvious that Putin and Medvedev will make efforts to balance raising Chinese political and economical influences.
After Kazakhstan inked deal with CNPC on Chinese participation in Kashagan project Transneft announced that talks held since summer ended with preliminar agreement on the oil transport from Kashagan to Russia and further to the west via Atyrau – Samarkanda pipeline. Morover Lavrov assured Idrisov that all documents required for creating Eurasian Economic Union (with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus as memebers) will be ready on time and that this new organization will be established as scheduled on January 1st 2015. China’s presence and influence in Kazakhstan is undoubtedly on the rise but Russia will not be watching idly. For Nazarbaev this situation is the opportunity but maintaining balance could not be easy.