For more than a quarter century, the US has seen the strong, sovereign, and independent nation of Kazakhstan as a valued friend and a strategic partner in Central Asia. And we are honored, truly honored, to have been the first country to recognize Kazakhstani independence on Christmas Day 1991. That is a long time ago, but not that long. Kazakhstan has made incredible strides.
Since that time, the US and Kazakhstan have worked together to advance peace and security in the region and far beyond.
Together, we dismantled Kazakhstan's nuclear weapons infrastructure and ensured a safer and healthier future for the children of Kazakhstan and for the world at large. We have pursued opportunities to increase investment in Kazakhstan, and the energy sector in particular.
And today, our strategic partnership with Kazakhstan has advanced my South Asia strategy, which is working—and working far more rapidly than anybody would understand—and providing crucial support for our forces in Afghanistan and denying safe haven for terrorists.
This cooperation has grown even stronger this month during Kazakhstan's presidency of the United Nations Security Council. And I will say, that is a great honor.
President Nazarbayev and I had a series of discussions on how our relationship can further the safety, prosperity, and wellbeing of our people. Kazakhstan is a valued partner in our efforts to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. Together, we are determined to prevent the North Korean regime from threatening the world with nuclear devastation.
I also want to thank the President for his full support for our South Asia strategy, including our efforts in Afghanistan. I greatly appreciate the President's personal assurances that Kazakhstan will continue to provide critical logistical support and access for our troops fighting ISIS and the Taliban, where we have made tremendous strides.
We also appreciate Kazakhstan's work to train and educate Afghan civilian specialists, and I am grateful for the President's pledge of additional support to bolster Afghan security. The US seeks partners who are strong, prosperous, respectful of their neighbors, and in control of their own destinies.
I am pleased that the President has shared his plan for Kazakhstan to become a top-30 global economy by 2050, and he is on his way—very rapidly. He is also working to improve Kazakhstan's business environment, which will create new opportunities for American companies who are over there, and lots of jobs are being provided to both countries.
American businesses are currently among the largest investors in Kazakhstan. President Nazarbayev will attend a roundtable with American business executives at the US Chamber of Commerce to further advance our commercial ties.
We also agree that fair and reciprocal—such an important word, “reciprocal"—trade benefits both of our countries.
I greatly appreciate Kazakhstan's participation in our Central Asia Trade Forum and in our Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. The President and I are working together to bring high-quality US products and services to the Kazakhstani people—so important. And it is really happening, and it is happening rapidly all across a range of industries, including commercial aircraft, railways, medical services, technology, and energy.
Working in common cause, we can advance greater opportunity for citizens in both of our countries. Our nations have a long history of cooperation to promote a safer, healthier, more prosperous, and brighter tomorrow. I look forward to seeing the great advances of the Kazakhstani people under your incredible leadership. And that is what it is—it is incredible leadership.
We want a strong, sovereign, and thriving future for Kazakhstan and for the peace-loving nations of the world.*