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[BEIJING] China is expected to sign 30 cooperative agreements worth US$10 billion with Kazakhstan as Premier Li Keqiang begins his first official visit to the country, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.
Xinhua did not give details, but quoted Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping as highlighting a joint-venture logistics base and urging interconnectivity with highways, railways, ports, air routes, oil and gas pipelines.
"The Sino-Kazakh cooperation is developing rapidly. The volume of trade between the two countries is increasing annually by 20 per cent," Xinhua quoted Mr Li as saying in an article.
Kazakhstan has become China's second largest trade partner in the Commonwealth of the Independent States, while China is the second largest trade partner and the largest export market of Kazakhstan, Mr Li was quoted as saying.
Mr Li will also visit Serbia and Thailand, but some of the most touchy topics he could encounter are off the agenda, including the fate of Muslims from western China who have fled to Southeast Asia.
Mr Li's trip, from December 14 to 20, also takes in summits with Eastern European, Central Asian and Southeast Asian leaders.