One of the key issues of the Kazakh - Chinese bilateral relations is the issue of the use and protection of transboundary water resources.
On the eve of Kazakhstan President's state visit to China we asked Kazakhstan's National Coordinator on SCO activity, Ambassador at Large of MFA Shahrat Nuryshev to give an interview to Kazinform.
- Mr. Nuryshev, what is the status of negotiations with China on transboundary rivers?
- The issue of transboundary rivers is under the personal control of Presidents of the two states. The last three generations of Chinese leaders including acting leader Xi Jinping said that the Chinese side will not take any action on transboundary rivers to the detriment of Kazakhstan's interests.
Through persistent efforts of both sides seven bilateral intergovernmental and interagency documents on cooperation in this sphere have been signed within 13 years. In particular, the agreement on cooperation in the use and protection of transboundary rivers (September 12, 2001, Astana), an emergency notification of the parties of natural disasters on the transboundary rivers (July 4, 2005, Astana), the agreement on the development of research cooperation on transboundary rivers (December 20, 2006, Beijing), treaty on mutual exchange of hydrological and hydrochemical information (data) of border gauging major transboundary rivers (December 20, 2006, Beijing), agreement on preservation of quality of water resources of transboundary rivers (February 22, 2011, Beijing), and treaty on cooperation in the field of environmental protection (June 13, 2011, Astana).
September 7, 2013 in Astana during the first state visit of the President Xi Jinping to Kazakhstan there was signed an intergovernmental agreement on the joint management and operation of the combined waterworks "Dostyk" on Khorgos River.
Kazakh-Chinese joint commission in the use and protection of transboundary rivers established in 2003 is the main body interaction in the use and protection of transboundary rivers.
- What can you say about the existing problematic aspects and the ways to solve them?
- Our goal for the near future is to enter the signing of an agreement on water sharing in transboundary rivers between Kazakhstan and China. Currently, experts from the two countries prepare the basis by implementing the Plan of main directions for technical work on water allocation in transboundary rivers. We agreed with the Chinese side to start in 2015 a joint study project of the Agreement.
The question of the construction of antimud slide protection structures in the upper basin of the Khorgos River, where there are 18 moraine (glacial) lakes of various sizes and mudslide danger, 12 of which are located on the territory of China. These lakes are of serious mudflow danger for such significant socio-economic targets of the two countries as "Khorgos" international center of cross-border cooperation, cross-border rail and road bridges, the Kazakh-Chinese gas pipeline "Atasu - Alashankou", and "Korgas" customs post and others.
Four meetings of experts on the moraine (glacial) lakes in the basin of the Khorgos River were held in 2012-2013. June 9-12 Astana will host the 5th meeting.
- How effective is the work of the joint Kazakh-Chinese Commission on the protection and use of transboundary rivers?
- During 2003-2013 eleven meetings of the Kazakh-Chinese Commission on the protection and use of transboundary rivers were carried out. Furthermore, several active functional working groups have been created under the commission.
The Joint Declaration on further deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership, signed September 7, 2013 in Astana by the heads of the two states praised the results of the Kazakhstan-China joint commission and expressed their willingness to further strengthen and expand cooperation in the framework of this mechanism.
It should be emphasized that the signing of the above bilateral collaboration documents on various aspects of the use and protection of transboundary water resources was the result of the work of the joint commission and its experts.
- Thank you for the interview.