ALMATY, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming first state visit to Kazakhstan bears very important political significance for both countries.
"In many ways, this (importance) is due to the fact that it takes place in a special period - for both China and Kazakhstan," Nazarbayev said in a recent joint interview with Chinese media.
Following the success of the 18th Congress of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the election of the fifth generation of leadership of the country, China had set a new strategic goal for its national development, Nazarbayev said.
Given the weighty role of China in the international arena, the sweeping changes in China would affect not only the lives of the Chinese people, but also influence the general direction of international politics, he told Chinese reporters.
The "Chinese Dream" will bring new opportunities for China's neighboring countries, the Eurasian region as well as the whole world, he said.
The Kazakh president said Kazakhstan was implementing its state development strategy towards 2050 and had set a goal of becoming one of the 30 most developed countries in the world.
The mutually beneficial partnership between Kazakhstan and China would make an important contribution to the sustainable development of both countries, he said.
Nazarbayev believed Xi's visit would generate new impetus for Kazakhstan-China cooperation and determine the substantive priorities of that cooperation.
Nazarbayev said deepening cooperation with China was one of Kazakhstan's foreign policy priorities.
Bilateral trade between Kazakhstan and China approached 25 billion U.S. dollars last year, and the two countries planned to increase it to 40 billion dollars by 2015, he said.
Meanwhile, the two countries not only planned to expand the scope of their cooperation, but also to enhance its quality, he said.
Currently, Kazakhstan-China cooperation mainly focused on the energy sector, but a shift to the non-energy sector would be the future direction, Nazarbayev said.
The two countries were working on a blueprint for their medium- and long-term economic and trade cooperation towards 2020, he said.
Nazarbayev stressed that relations between Kazakhstan and China were established on the basis of equality and dialogue and the fundamental principles of the friendly relations would remain unchanged for many years.
Nazarbayev said Kazakhstan and China enjoyed diversified and effective cooperation not only at bilateral level but also within international and regional frameworks, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.
With agreement on strategic principles for cooperation, the two countries now could cooperate on specific projects, Nazarbayev said.
Kazakhstan and China had deepened bilateral cooperation in politics, economy, society and culture, with economic cooperation covering a wide range of industries, he said, adding this made the ties harmonious and more stable.
Nazarbayev said the implementation of large-scale infrastructure and energy projects that had an impact on the entire region would exert a decisive influence on the future of Kazakhstan-China relations.
The two countries, with complementary economies and similarity in their positions on major international issues, would witness more rapid development of bilateral relations, the president said.
In the field of cultural exchange, Nazarbayev said there was a steady growth of interest in China's rich culture and language among Kazakh people, especially youngsters.
Four Confucius Institutes were opened in Kazakhstan's major cities, Almaty, Astana, Karaganda and Aktobe, he said.
China is becoming a popular destination for holidays, education and business among Kazakhs and more Chinese citizens are coming to Kazakhstan, which is the most reliable way to develop people-to-people diplomacy, the president said.
Cooperation on education should play an important role in this aspect. "The more actively our young people communicate, the stronger our friendship will be in the future," he said.
Currently there are about 8,000 Kazakh students studying in China and the number is increasing annually. Kazakh universities offering world-class education also welcomed Chinese students, the president said.
Nazarbayev said the model of the two countries' relationship, which is based on equal dialogue and open discussion of all matters, means they have no irreconcilable differences, with Kazakhstan-China strategic cooperation on transboundary water resources an example.
Nazarbayev also said Kazakhstan saw the SCO as a versatile and multi-functional mechanism, a guarantee of security and stability in the region, which covers a vast territory in Eurasia.
The SCO should be a key platform for cooperation in preventing and combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, he said, adding it needs to strengthen its role in the fields of institutions, organization and legislation.
The SCO should seek to achieve balanced development in the fields of security, economy and culture, and the strategic priority of the coming 10years is to intensify multilateral economic cooperation, Nazarbayev said.