Bringing China Back
After almost 1,000 days, Chinese President Xi Jinping made his first trip outside of China since the start of the pandemic. The trip includes a visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where Xi will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since the war on Ukraine, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. This visit serves to reinforce Beijing's global power amidst political friction in the west, reports CNN.
The two leaders have continued to strengthen ties between their countries throughout the Russo-Ukrainian war, and this meeting will be a show of diplomatic support for Putin. Xi is also visiting at the brink of an unprecedented third term, which will cement his legacy as one of China's most powerful leaders.
Steven Tsang, director of the China Institute at SOAS University of London, posited to CNN that Xi, "wants to send the signal that he is in charge and working with friends and partners. The SCO summit in Central Asia, with Putin joining, ticks all the boxes."
Xi's visit to Kazakhstan is also strategic. China shares over 1,000 miles of border with Kazakhstan. China has also had approximately $14 billion invested in Kazakhstan's oil and gas sectors since 2019, reports Time. Strengthening Kazakhstan's energy markets in China is crucial now, given the disruption in global energy markets due to the war in Ukraine.
"We are friends to trust and partners to count on for each other," Xi wrote of Kazakhstan ahead of his trip.