For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to venture out of the country on a trip to Kazakhstan next week.
The announcement came from the Kazakh government’s foreign ministry which stated that the visit will take place on September 14. Reportedly, Xi will meet Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and the duo will hold bilateral talks aimed at deepening comprehensive strategic partnership and developing economic, cultural and trade cooperation.
Following the trip to Kazakhstan, the Chinese leader is expected to visit Uzbekistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, where he might meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As per experts, Xi’s strategy of ‘working-from-home’, a direct consequence of his draconian ‘zero-Covid’ tolerance strategy was starting to have diplomatic consequences.
It is pertinent to note that the last time Jinping stepped outside China was on a trip to the neighbouring country of Myanmar in January 2020, five days before his government locked down the city of Wuhan, the ground zero for the origin of coronavirus.
Moreover, Xi venturing into overseas pastures comes a month before the CCP holds a conference and grants him a precedent-busting third consecutive term in office. Xi is reportedly trying to send a message across the table that he is as active as he was prior to the pandemic.
While 65 million Chinese citizens have been locked under tough COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the mid-autumn festival, the country’s second-most important holiday after the Lunar New Year, Chinese leaders are starting to catch flights abroad.
As reported by WION, Li Zhanshu, no. 3 leader of China, is due to visit Russia next week. Li will embark on an official visit to Russia, Mongolia, Nepal, and South Korea from Wednesday until September 17, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
(With inputs from agencies)
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