Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping© REUTERS/ Shamil Zhumatov
ASTANA, September 7 (RIA Novosti) – Leaders of China and Kazakhstan signed on Saturday a declaration on developing the strategic partnership between the two countries.
An agreement package signed during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Kazakh capital Astana also included deals on collaboration in peaceful space exploration and coal energy projects, and on joint management of the Dostyk hydroelectric complex, as well as an economic cooperation plan through 2020.
The China National Petroleum Corporation also reached on Saturday an agreement with the Kazakh state-run KazMunayGas to buy a stake in the Kashagan offshore oil field, Xi said. The deal was earlier priced at $5 billion.
Xi also invited Kazakh students to tap into the 30,000 fellowships that Beijing is allotting for students from the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization looking to study in China in the next decade.
Kazakhstan, an oil-rich former Soviet republic with a population of 17 million, is an aspiring regional power in Central Asia that has, in recent years, moved to balance its traditional close connections to Russia by boosting ties with China.
Chinese-Kazakh trade grew 12.5 percent last year to reach $24 billion, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Saturday. Beijing and Astana expect trade volume to reach $40 billion by 2015.
(The story was updated to include Xi's comment on the Kashagan field.)
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