Chinese authorities have announced that they will cancel their bilateral flights between the two countries in the coming days as a precaution.
The move comes as tensions between the world’s two largest economies have spiked after President Xi Jinping ordered a crackdown on the countrys border guards in a bid to curb a wave of migrant and asylum-seeker arrivals in the past two years.
In a statement on the state news agency Xinhua, the Chinese government said: “We urge the Kazakh and Chinese sides to refrain from any acts that would escalate tensions and worsen the situation in the region.”
The announcement comes as China’s border guards have detained more than 2,000 migrants and asylum seekers over the past three weeks, with the majority being detained in Kazakhstan.
They have also been targeting migrant and refugee camps in Xinjiang, a predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang in China, where they have been targeting the Uyghur minority.
Chinese officials have also launched a crackdown in Xinjin, a city in Xinzhi province bordering the Kazakhstan border.
Last month, the authorities arrested an activist who helped organize a demonstration to highlight China’s crackdown on Uyghan migrants in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
In recent weeks, thousands of Uyger migrants have arrived in Kazakhstan on a bus in protest of the authorities’ crackdown on their movement, with some crossing into the country on their own accord and others attempting to cross into the neighbouring country via neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s parliament is considering new measures that would make it easier for migrants to apply for asylum in Kazakhstan if they have crossed the border illegally.
The proposals include a mandatory identification card for migrants, which could be issued by a health and safety authority, and an increase in the number of border guards allowed to carry out operations, Xinhua reported.
“The decision is expected to ease the pressure on migrants in Kazakhstan, especially those who cross the border with the most advanced technology and who don’t have documents,” said Alexey Klimov, a researcher at the International Migration Policy Institute, a London-based think tank.
“The authorities may be looking at ways to avoid any more migrant arrivals, so the pressure is likely to be on to manage the situation.”
The latest development comes after Kazakhstan’s government in August announced a series of measures to tighten border controls in the run-up to the 2020 Winter Olympics in Kazakstan, which are also being seen as a response to China’s clampdown.
A delegation of Kazakh officials is due to visit Beijing this month for talks on the issue.