A recent visit to China by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev resulted in deals that further expanded China's extensive energy and infrastructure investments in the Central Asian country. In an e-mail interview, Niklas Swanström -- director of the Institute for Security and Development Policy and executive director of ISDP's Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and its Silk Road Studies Program -- discussed China-Kazakhstan relations.
WPR: What is driving the recent expansion of China-Kazakhstan trade relations, on both sides?
Niklas Swanström: The most obvious factor behind the expansion is China's willingness and ability to invest in economies in the region, particularly in energy-rich Kazakhstan. Currently, few states are willing to invest or trade -- with no strings attached -- to the same extent as China. This is especially the case in the energy sector, in which China is an eager customer. The increasing diversification of trade has also been positive for relations.