China’s Xi to visit Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan this week – Times of India

BEIJING: China’s President Xi Jinping will make state visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan this week, Beijing said Monday his first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Xi will attend a leaders’ summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, and “pay state visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan” from Wednesday to Friday, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The SCO is made up of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, as well as four central Asian countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
It will be holding its next summit on September 15 and 16 in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, a stop on the ancient Silk Road.
Russia has said Xi will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit, as Moscow seeks to bolster ties with Beijing after being slapped with unprecedented Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
China’s president last went overseas in January 2020 for a state visit to Myanmar. A few days after his return, the entire city of Wuhan was locked down over a spiralling Covid outbreak.
Since then, Xi has largely conducted his diplomacy virtually, but received several foreign leaders during the Beijing Winter Olympics in February — his first in-person meetings with foreign leaders since the pandemic.
Xi is readying for a pivotal twice-a-decade Congress of the ruling Communist Party in October, where he is widely expected to secure an unprecendented third term as president.
Previous Chinese leaders generally refrained from making overseas trips in the weeks before the Party Congress, when behind-the-scenes power struggles frequently intensified.

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