Asia is gaining momentum. The time has come to launch international mechanisms, which, before that, were created and regulated for almost 30 years, to turn them into a single structure. Clear, stable and running smoothly. Considering the fact that the world situation is now in dire need of this.
These meetings on the sidelines
The epicentre of the launch of this mechanism this week was Kazakhstan – an active and ambitious post-Soviet country, among the economic and political leaders of the region, which acted as the main negotiating platform. The Heads of 11 states and representatives of the governments of another fifteen countries arrived here in the Kazakh capital for the 30th anniversary of the VI Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence building Measures in Asia (CICA).
The venue was not chosen by chance, since 2014, the headquarters of the CICA is located in Astana. It should be added to this that Kazakhstan constantly adheres to the policy of persistent neutrality, and has no political, economic, or territorial contradictions with the participating countries. This allows him to receive representatives, including those of the conflicting parties: India and Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The first contacts took place on Wednesday. President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev warmly welcomed the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, from whom he received an invitation to the Football World Cup-2022, played in table tennis with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and accepted an invitation to visit Singapore on behalf of the President of the state Halima Jacob, conveyed by Prime Minister Mohamad Maliki bin Osman.
However, according to many experts, first of all at such events it is worth taking into account the so-called “meetings on the sidelines of the summit”.
It is there that the most important documents are concluded and critical issues are discussed. Within the framework of such meetings, Tokayev and Erdogan discussed issues of foreign policy, investment, trade and economic cooperation, logistics, military industry, energy and agriculture, that is, the most topical and modern topics.
A number of agreements were signed here. Both sides did not hide that their common goal is to bring the mutual trade turnover of both countries to $10 billion. There are all the possibilities for this now.
– Our countries are interested in increasing the volume of traffic on the Trans–Caspian International Transport Route, – it was noted after the meeting. – This strategic project is of great importance for maintaining stability in the region. May our unity and cooperation be eternal!
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also had a conversation “on the sidelines” with Vietnam Vice President Vo Thi An Xuan, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China Wang Qishan and other officials. A trilateral meeting of the Presidents of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, Russia Vladimir Putin, Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon was also held here.
However, the “front” part of the CICA also brought a lot of surprises. For the first time in many years, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev voiced what supporters of the Western world had not ventured to say for many years.
– The forecast that the XXI century will be the century of Asia has become a reality today. Asia has become a recognized world economic leader in nominal GDP and purchasing power parity,” the Kazakh leader said. – The region has significant human and natural resources. 21 of the 30 largest cities in the world are located in Asia. It is expected that of all the estimated growth in middle-class consumption of $30 trillion by 2030, only $1 trillion will fall on Western economies.
To make Asia from a disparate group of regional players a real economic and political force on a global scale, only one thing is required – consolidation.
“The future of Asia itself depends on our collective readiness to strengthen the dialogue between cultures, traditions and world views,” Tokayev stressed.
To this end, Astana has also proposed a number of effective measures, and, first of all, to establish the CICA Council on Sustainable Interconnectedness. This will make it possible to close the gaps that have recently arisen in transport and logistics transit corridors and create an effective system of commodity supplies.
– Convenient and affordable ways of cargo transportation are an important factor in the sustainable growth of our economies, – Tokayev explained.
The Kazakh leader proposed to transform the CICA Financial Summit initiated by the People’s Republic of China into a permanent platform. These and other solutions will make it possible to create a really working mechanism for ensuring food security in the CICA space, which is now extremely necessary in the world. In fact, these will be “green corridors” between the CICA member states for the product category of goods.
– Asia produces two–thirds of the world’s agricultural products, but continues to remain vulnerable in this area, – said Tokayev.
In addition to economic issues, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan called the issues of ecology and human capital important and requiring solutions
“Economic measures can be considered effective only if they are focused on the human dimension, conservation and development of human resources,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed support for the “Asian course”.
– Like many of our partners in Asia, we believe that it is necessary to launch a revision of the principles of the global financial system, – said the leader of the Russian Federation, – which for decades allowed the self-proclaimed, so-called “golden billion”, which closed all the flows of capital and technology, to a large extent to live at someone else’s expense.
The natural result of the summit was a general resolution defining the further course of development of the association. And the first point of it is aimed at transforming the CICA from an advisory body into a full-fledged regional international organization.
“The Organisation will contribute to ensuring dynamic, equal, comprehensive and balanced economic growth, interconnectedness, social and cultural development of the Member States,” the resolution states. – We will step up collective work within the organisation in order to find joint solutions to the problems of the 21st century common to all of us to ensure the security and prosperity of the region, the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the UN Charter.
The updated CICA intends to cooperate on a mutually beneficial level, both between the participating states and with other countries, organizations and forums.
The anniversary summit of the CICA really turned out to be a breakthrough. Summarising what has been said, we can conclude that we are now present at a historical event. We are witnessing how a modest dialogue platform is gradually turning into a full-fledged regional international association. Which, later, albeit not immediately, but has the opportunity to become an Asian Union, like the European one.
Despite the difference of interests, political and territorial conflicts, the participating States are gradually moving from words and speeches to real deeds that can have a serious impact on the global situation. And the initiator of this process is largely Kazakhstan, which has a rich experience of integration.
– I want to emphasise that we are not creating a new organisation, but are moving to a new stage of institutional development, – Kassym-Jomart Tokayev summed up the summit. – Raising the status of the meeting will strengthen the increased role of Asia in world affairs and bring the interaction of member states to a new level.
These words are worth listening to. And to recognise that the new organisation has every chance to achieve the status of a serious heavyweight in the world community with the face of United Asia.