Inspiring example of Kazakhstan. President Nursultan Nazarbayev is in the Republic of Korea for the Nuclear Security Summit
The antinuclear Forum in Seoul is the largest event for both the South Korean capital and for the world. Second after the Washington summit, it is a clear indication that the reset of international relations in the non-proliferation and disarmament brings very tangible results. According to experts, nearly 80% of the commitments made on the Potomac banks have been materialized. And what is most gratifying, Kazakhstan continues to maintain the lead in the process of strengthening stability and security, as confirmed by the United States President Barack Obama during a meeting with the Kazakh leader.
Leader of the global movement
This summit in South Korea is a truly unprecedented event. Never before has the country gathered as many VIPs. Even the summit in Washington two years ago (47 countries participating in it) was not as representative as Seoul’s (50 countries), which points to a growing momentum of this dialogue venue.
The exclusivity of the event stands out more against the backdrop of the ill-fated 38th parallel dividing Korea into North and South. The parties are still technically at war, “sabre rattling” now and then. So the forum was held amid fears of the U.S. and its allies over North Korea's retreat from its commitments on nuclear disarmament: the North Korean authorities announced their intention to launch a space rocket.
The fears of Pyongyang’s using ballistic technology have led to a new round of confrontation. This topic is expected to be brought up at the summit during the bilateral meetings.
The international community hopes to influence the situation in the region, and the choice of Seoul as the venue for the forum is part of the efforts. This situation requires a careful handling, though, as North Korea threatened that it would consider a discussion of its nuclear program as "a declaration of war."
All the more important to the world in this light is Kazakhstan’s experience, giving up the nuclear ambitions. During Nursultan Nazarbayev’s meeting with President Barack Obama this topic was given prominence.
- I fully support the U.S. appeal to all nations in the struggle for a nuclear-free world. I urge all nuclear powers and states aspiring to possess nuclear weapons to follow Kazakhstan's example and get unique economic opportunities for sustainable development, - said the Kazakh President.
Our country’s example in this regard is indicative: the closure of the largest nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk, scrapping the nuclear arsenal of a thousand-plus warheads that brought investments and economic growth to it. Together with the United States and Russia a sizeable work was accomplished to dismantle nuclear test site infrastructure and nuclear facilities.
Barack Obama thanked President Nursultan Nazarbayev for this leading role in the nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and tagged Kazakhstan as a model to the world.
The U.S. president also praised the efforts of our country in the development of international cooperation in strengthening the physical and technical security in the nuclear field. He supported the idea of deploying the International Bank of low-enriched uranium on the RK territory.
B.Obama was also appreciative of Kazakhstan's efforts in Afghan settlement. It was also emphasized that a peaceful resolution of the situation around the Iranian nuclear program is in the entire world community’s interests.
Outlook for bilateral partnership was among the topics covered. Kazakhstan-U.S. diplomatic relations are 20 years old. United States is a first nation to recognize our country’s independence, who also gave it security guarantees. The two countries have reached a strategic partnership level.
Economic potential of the interaction has yet to be fully unlocked. Nursultan Nazarbayev has called the U.S. partners for more cooperation, opportunities for which are available. Kazakhstan is currently implementing the program for accelerated industrial-innovative development, in which overseas companies could share more actively. Cooperation in small and medium business, innovation and technologies are deemed as promising areas, as well as Kazakhstan’s transit potential to boost international trade.
In turn, B.Obama said that his country fully supports the efforts of the RK in joining the WTO. He welcomed the results of the elections that led to the multi-party parliament in Kazakhstan and the settlement of the situation in Zhanaozen under N.Nazarbayev’s supervision.
In conclusion Nursultan Nazarbayev invited U.S. representatives to the IV Congress of World and Traditional Religions’ leaders and gave Barack Obama a traditional Kazakh tumar (charm) to wish him good luck in the upcoming presidential election.
In the sidelines of the forum
On the first day a series of formal bilateral and informal meetings took place in the sidelines of the summit.
The first opening day of the Forum Nursultan Nazarbayev met with South Korea's President. The negotiations took place over a working lunch at the presidential palace "Cheong Wa Dae."
N. Nazarbayev noted that Kazakhstan and South Korea had reached the level of strategic partnership. The Land of Morning Calm is one of the leading economic partners to our country in Asia. In 2011 the bilateral trade turnover grew by 16% to reach $1 billion. There are about 800 JVs operating in Kazakhstan.
Cooperation in non-primary sector is expanding.
The Kazakh President, describing the level of relations between the two countries, expressed his satisfaction with the implementation of the two major joint projects: construction of the Balkhash thermal plant and of the 2nd stage of the integrated gas treatment and chemicals production complex in Atyrau.
The parties also discussed the development of promising areas in energy cooperation, interaction in alternative and renewable energy sources in Kazakhstan. Willingness was expressed to implement new economic projects to develop related industries and transfer of advanced technologies.
An important part of the talks was the international agenda. In particular, Kazakhstan expressed its support to the South Korea’s policy to develop inter-Korean relations and to continue six-party talks. The Korean side expressed support to Kazakhstan’s bid to host EXPO-2017.
Besides, the two leaders discussed cooperation in healthcare. President Nazarbayev visited the Seoul National University Hospital and also met with the Director General of IAEA Yukiya Amano and Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Y. Amano made a note of Kazakhstan’s achievements in nuclear non-proliferation and security. And with the Turkish PM a wide range of bilateral issues was discussed, as well as international politics.
Ahead of it a presentation in Seoul took place of the book by J. Aitken "Nazarbayev and the making of Kazakhstan" translated into Korean.
KP special correspondent
Photo: Sergey Bondarenko, Bolatbek Otarbaev