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Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan before summit with Putin

Chinese presidents trip underlines the significance Beijing places on asserting its role as a regional leader amid tension with the united states, Japan and India.

Published On 14 Sep 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping has started his first foreign trip because the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic a lot more than 2 yrs ago with an end in Kazakhstan, before a summit in Uzbekistan along with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, along with other leaders of a Central Asian security group.

Xi was met on Wednesday at the airport tarmac in Nur-Sultan by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and an honour guard.

His trip underlined the significance China has positioned on asserting its role as a regional leader amid tensions with america, Japan and India when confronted with disputes about technology, security, human rights and territory.

Tokayevs government said both leaders would discuss energy and trade. Kazakhstan is really a significant coal and oil producer that matters China as a respected customer.

On Thursday, Xi is because of fly to Samarkand in neighbouring Uzbekistan for a summit of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

China and Russia start to see the bloc as a counterweight to US alliances in East Asia. Xi and Putin intend to hold a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of the summit and discuss the war in Ukraine, based on the Russian presidents foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov.

Other SCO governments include India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan. Observers include Iran and Afghanistan.

Xi is promoting a worldwide Security Initiative, that was announced in April with few details following a formation of the Quad by the united states, Japan, Australia and India in reaction to Beijings more assertive foreign policy.

Kazakhstan is section of Chinas multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to expand trade because they build ports, railways along with other infrastructure across an arc of a large number of countries from the South Pacific through Asia to the center East, Europe and Africa.

The initiative and Chinas economic inroads into Central Asia have created unease in Russia, which sees the spot as its sphere of influence. Kazakhstan and its own neighbours want to attract Chinese investment without upsetting Moscow.

This visit is really important, said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko this week before Xis arrival. We certainly hope that it’ll advance political and economic and commercial relations with China.

Andy Mok, a senior research fellow at the Centre for China and Globalisation, told Al Jazeera that Kazakhstan is quite crucial to China, with both countries enjoying deep, structural and historic ties.

Pope Francis was also in Kazakhstan simultaneously as Xi, but there is no indication they could meet. Up to speed his flight, the pope was asked in regards to a possible meeting and replied, I dont have any news concerning this. But I’m always all set to China.

Xis trip at the same time when his government is urging the Chinese public in order to avoid foreign travel under its zero-COVID strategy underlined the significance to the governing Communist Party of asserting Chinas strategic ambitions.

The summit has had Xi abroad as the party prepares for an October congress of which he is likely to break with political tradition and make an effort to award himself a third five-year term as leader.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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