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Chinese Leader Holds Talks With Kazakh, Russian Presidents In Astana

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during a joint news conference following their meeting in Astana on June 8.

ASTANA -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has held separate talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Astana, where a June 8-9 summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is taking place.

Nazarbaev told Xi on June 8 that China had become a "major partner" of the Central Asian country in recent years."

According to Nazarbaev, Astana is working to transfer 51 industrial facilities from China to Kazakhstan.

"Every year, China gets closer to the place in the world it deserves, and we will always be next to you," Nazarbaev said.

Xi, who arrived in Kazakhstan on June 7, thanked Kazakhstan for its support of Beijing's One Belt One Road international trade initiative, which grabbed attention when Xi hosted a summit devoted to it last month. He said that he "feels at home" in Astana.

Several documents on taxation, constructions, infrastructure, education, and movie-making were signed after the meeting.

Xi also met with Putin after the latter arrived in the Kazakh capital on June 8 to take part in the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security grouping that is dominated by China and Russia.

It also includes summit host Kazakhstan as well as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Putin said that Moscow was preparing for Xi's official visit to the Russian capital next month (July 3-4), and that he is confident it will be "a significant and big event in our bilateral relations."

Kremlin adviser Yury Ushakov said earlier that Xi and Putin would discuss issues including the tension on the Korean Peninsula.

Xi said that Moscow-Beijing ties were developing "very well," adding, "Our mutual cooperation and interaction have a big significance for the world in a global scale."

Russia has sought to increase its focus on China, its ally on many geopolitical issues but also a rising neighbor with a much larger economy, amid badly strained ties between Moscow and the West.

Kazakh Foreign Ministry said earlier that India and Pakistan were expected to be declared full-fledged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at the summit.

The membership for Pakistan and India in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was approved in July 2015.

Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia have observer status.

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