Chinese leader Hu Jintao has pledged a $1-billion currency swap deal with his counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev during his recent visit to Kazakhstan. The aim— to enhance strategic ties with energy-rich Kazakhstan.
The currency deal follows a series of bilateral agreements between the two countries. Hu and his Kazakh counterpart agree to double bilateral trade to $40 billion by 2015.
The two leaders pledge to develop a strategic partnership on cultural, political, trade, and economic matters.
They agree to deepen their cooperation on energy resource matters.
[Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s Leader]:
“There are wide prospects for cooperation in the region of atomic energy. In particular joint production of nuclear fuel and the construction of atomic electricity stations.”
Kazakhstan—the world’s largest uranium miner—has agreed to supply nuclear fuel pellets to China starting this year.
Energy ties between the two countries are already substantial. Kazakhstan is the Chinese regime’s biggest energy supplier. Its oil pipeline delivers more than 11 million tons of crude oil to China last year.
China’s growing influence in Kazakhstan and other former Soviet states in Central Asia is boosted by billions of dollars of investment in the region’s oil, gas, and metal reserves. Chinese companies already control 23 percent of Kazakhstan’s oil output.
While the Kazakh leader promotes Chinese investment, some Kazakhs are opposing it. Many call for a stop to the Chinese regime’s financing of energy resource exploration—saying it’s not benefiting ordinary Kazakhs.
The Chinese regime’s energy ventures with Kazakhstan pose a challenge to Russia and Europe—as they also want to have a stake on the energy resources from Kazakhstan.