The Republic of Kazakhstan establishes its Consulate General in Hong Kong. This event marks a new milestone in close cooperation of Kazakhstan and China.
Today Hong Kong personifies the best traditions of the East and the West. The whole world admires the progress that Hong Kong has reached during the last half-century. The wise policy of the Chinese government that proclaimed so-called "one country, two systems" principle, has allowed to support rapid development of Hong Kong as one of the largest financial, technological, transport and communications centers of the world.
All of us are the witnesses of tragic events, when the peoples of China and Hong Kong suffered an unknown disease that caused numerous victims. But, due to courage and firmness in combating with this dangerous threat and also confident policy of the government, you were able to defeat and secure the other countries of the world from its further dissemination.
The idea to establish the Kazakhstan representative office in this unique corner of Asia is imminent. Today Kazakhstan aspires for the expansion of its trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian connections. In this regard, Hong Kong represents the growing importance for Kazakhstan. .
Kazakhstan gained its independence twenty two years ago. Probably, there is no sense to remind readers of what the drama events accompanied the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Even more complicated were the process of creating the independent states at the time of widespread economic recession and social shocks.
Kazakhstan has successfully passed through all these. Our country managed to overcome the tendency of recession, thanks to persistent and consecutive economic reforms. In fact, Kazakhstan managed to proceed from a socialist to liberal market economy. Kazakhstan is the first among newly independent states that was recognized btthe United States and the European Union as the country with market economy.
We, in Kazakhstan, managed to keep high rates of the economic growth. On average the Kazakhstan economy boasts 10 % ayear. For the last four years GDP has grown almost 50 percent. Thus, Kazakhstan today is one of the most rapid developing countries of the world. AII these in many respects were possible of a favorable investment climate.
Kazakhstan undertakes big efforts on ensuring political stability in strategically important Central-Asian region and in Asia as a whole. In insecure environment it is impossible to carry out steady development of the countries of the region. The last year under the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev the first Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence in Asia, known as well as ClCA, took place in Almaty, in which the leaders of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and other countries of the Asian continent took part. This meeting and its final documents signed on it have allowed for the first time in the history of Asia to start the multilateral mechanism of dialogue and cooperation on the continent.
More recently, in September, 2003, in the young capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, there was the first Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions. The representatives of all leading religions of the world Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and others took part in it. Thus, Kazakhstan has tried to contribute to start up a dialogue between the religions which, unfortunately, quite often, especially recently, are used in the extremist purposes.
As the Kazakhstan-Chinese relations, the two countries have managed to establish a high-Ievel political dialogue and to develop large-scale cooperation in trade, economy, culture and other spheres. In 2002, during the state visit to China of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the leaders of two countries signed the historical in its significance Treaty on Good-neighborhood, Friendship and Cooperation. The Protocol on Demarcation of the Line of the State Borders, which finalized legal procedures, was signed the same year. That year, in June, Chairman of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao visited Astana. The parties have agreed upon expanding trade and economic cooperation and have noted strategic character of their energy partnership.
Our countries interact closely within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization which is a new form of sub-regional cooperation of six member states of the Asian region.
China is the second trade partner of Kazakhstan in terms of turnover. There are several joint investment projects. The oil-and-gas development project in Aktyubinsk region of Kazakhstan is one of them. In the long term we plan to construct the oil pipeline, which will connect the oil rich Western Kazakhstan to China.
On December 2006, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev visited Hong Kong. Probably, many Hong Kong businessmen remember the meetings with the leader of Kazakhstan. That visit was of great importance in establishing of economic ties and development of cooperation. Therefore, establishment of the Kazakhstan representation in Hong Kong stimulated contacts between the Kazakhstan and Hong Kong entrepreneurs.
On May 9, 2012, the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, on behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), signed the Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements with the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr Rapil S Zhoshybayev.
The agreement provided visa-free access to HKSAR passport holders visiting the Republic of Kazakhstan for a stay of up to 14 days. Likewise, nationals of the Republic of Kazakhstan can also enjoy 14 days' visa-free access to Hong Kong.