China-Kazakhstan Ties: Mutual visa-exemption deal takes effect

Last Updated on November 12, 2023 12:35 pm

A mutual visa-exemption agreement between China and Kazakhstan kicked in on Friday, allowing travelers to enter each other’s country visa-free and stay for up to 30 days each time. This new policy will further boost the two countries’ ties which were already blossoming under the Belt and Road Initiative. Chen Mengfei brings more from the border.

In the small county of Qapqal, the new international bus terminal opened in August is yet to attract traffic.

CHEN MENGFEI, Dulata International Bus Terminal, Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang “This is the only bus departing from Dulata to Almaty today. There are nine passengers on the bus. It takes about 5 hours to arrive.”

At 60 years old, local herder Shatikanbai and his wife Wulidai are taking this bus for the first time. They are headed to Almaty to visit Shatikanbai’s sister, whom they haven’t seen in six years.

The Dulata port officially opened in 2006. It is lesser known compared to the nearby Horgos port, but people here proudly look forward to its growth. They expect the new visa waiver to attract more Kazakhstani tourists to come through their port. Wulidai hopes her son, who is a bus driver, can get a job at the terminal.

Businesswoman Weng Youling has been running a warehouse here for more than 20 years.

WENG YOULING, Chairman, Dulata Port Development “I’ve already been to Kazakhstan five times this year. It used to take a lot of effort for us to go there. But now, we can basically go there one day and come back the next.”

Dulata exports a lot more than it imports. In the future, Weng hopes to get more quality products from Kazakhstan into China, such as beef. Currently, the port is operating at roughly 20% capacity, which is designed to handle 2 million tons of cargo per year. Room for growth is plenty.

CHEN MENGFEI, CGTN, Xinjiang Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture.

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