China’s Xi to travel to Central Asia in first overseas trip in 2 years

Beijing, Sep 12 (EFE).- Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Central Asia this week for a regional summit, making his first foreign trip in over 30 months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Xi will travel to the Uzbek city of Samarkand to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) before flying to neighboring Kazakhstan for a bilateral visit.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Xi would visit the Central Asian nations at the invitation of the presidents, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, between Sep 14 and 16.

Although the government has not disclosed details about the Chinese leader’s agenda during the visits, Russian President Vladimir Putin last week said he planned to meet Xi on the sidelines of the SCO meeting.

That will be the first meeting between Putin and Xi since Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year.

The Chinese president has not left mainland China since January 2020.

He traveled to Hong Kong in June when the former British colony marked the 25th anniversary of its handover to China.

His last foreign trip was to Myanmar in January 2020, when he met the defacto head Aung San Suu Kyi and General Min Aung Hlaing.

A year later, Min Aung Hlaing toppled the civilian government in a military coup on Feb.1, 2021.

Five days after Xi’s return, China announced the first lockdown of China to stop the outbreak of the coronavirus, first detected in the central city of Wuhan.

Wuhan remained cut off from the rest of the country for more than two months.

Since then, the president has remained in his country in line with the zero covid policy that has kept the Chinese borders practically closed for more than two years.

Xi has attended global summits and met international leaders virtually.

He delegated bilateral meetings to trusted emissaries like Foreign Minister Wang Yi. EFE


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