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Chinese president Hu Jintao arrives in Astana for visit, SCO summit

Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived here Sunday for a state visit and an annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

President Hu was greeted at the airport by his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.

In a statement released upon his arrival at the airport, Hu expressed the belief that his visit will be a success and serve to advance the strategic partnership between China and Kazakhstan to a new stage.

During his visit, Hu and Nazarbayev are expected to discuss the future development of the bilateral strategic partnership. He will also meet Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov. The two sides will exchange views on major regional and international issues of common concern.

"The continuous development of China-Kazakhstan strategic partnership has not only greatly promoted prosperity of the two countries, but also made important contribution to peace and stability of the region and the world," Hu said in the statement.

Hu expressed sincere greetings and goodwill of the Chinese people to the people of Kazakhstan. He said the two countries are friendly neighbors and strategic partners whose peoples share a long-standing friendship.

He said over the past nearly 20 years since China and Kazakhstan established diplomatic ties, bilateral ties have developed in a steady and healthy way. Since the two countries established the strategic partnership in 2005, they have deepened political mutual trust, vigorously developed pragmatic cooperation and continuously expanded cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

Over the years, the two countries have lent firm support to each other on major issues of their core interests and coordinated closely within the multilateral frameworks of the United Nations and the SCO, he said.

Nazarbayev paid a visit to China in February. During his stay in China, Nazarbayev and President Hu discussed ways of boosting the strategic partnership and bilateral cooperation. The two countries signed a series of cooperation agreements.

In Astana, the Chinese leader will also attend the SCO summit slated for Wednesday.

"The summit commemorating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be a great meeting that sums up previous achievements and opens up the future," Hu said in the statement.

"The meeting will be of great significance for the future development of the SCO," he said.

Hu expressed the belief that with the preparation of the host country of Kazakhstan and joint efforts of all member countries, the SCO summit will further develop common ground of the member countries, plan for future SCO development and lay a solid foundation for sustained, healthy and steady growth of the SCO.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of the SCO. In the past decade, the SCO has played a positive role in promoting regional peace and stability, and advancing economic and social development of member states.

At the Astana summit, the leaders will review the development of the SCO over the past decade and map out a blueprint for the organization in the coming decade.

At the SCO foreign ministers' meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan, last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi proposed setting goals for the SCO development in the next decade, including creating a long-term mechanism for maintaining regional stability, strengthening economic functions, deepening cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and building an open, cooperative, pragmatic partnership network not targeted at third parties.

Founded on June 15, 2001, the SCO groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Kazakhstan is the first leg of Hu's three-nation tour. Hu will travel to Moscow from Astana for a state visit. He will also attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and visit Ukraine.

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