President Xi leaves China for the first time since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic
Chinese President Xi Jinping has left China for the first time since the start of the Covid -19 pandemic paying a flying state visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan where he will attend the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) where he will meet the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Wednesday afternoon, Xi was warmly received by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev accompanied by senior Kazakh officials including Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi and Mayor of Nur-Sultan Altai Kulginov at the airport. Some 70 ceremonial guards stood in two ranks saluting the leaders as the military band played a fanfare. Two beautifully dressed Kazakh girls, with flowers in their hands, welcomed the arrival of Xi.
“China and Kazakhstan, connected by mountains and rivers, are good neighbors, good friends and good partners with a shared future, adding that over the past 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China-Kazakhstan relations have progressed by leaps and bounds and reached the high level of permanent comprehensive strategic partnership.” Xi stated.
Tokayev expressed warm congratulations to China on its great development achievements under the leadership of Xi, and wished the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China a full success.
“Kazakhstan will continue to firmly uphold the one-China policy and be a good partner and good friend that China can always rely on under all circumstances,” Tokayev said. Xi was later awarded Kazakhstan highest honour the Order of the Golden Eagle, or “Altyn Qyran” Order at the Ak Orda Presidential Palace in Nur-Sultan.
The Chinese President later left Wednesday for Uzbekistan and arriving at the airport, he was warmly greeted by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov, Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov, Governor of Samarkand region Erkinjon Turdimov and other high-level officials.
Mirziyoyev held a grand welcoming ceremony for Xi at the airport. Nearly a hundred national flags of China and Uzbekistan were waving in the breeze. The hundred-meter-long carpet was flanked by valiant honor guards. The two presidents stepped onto the reviewing stand adorned to reflect distinctive Uzbek features. A fanfare was played on Karnay, a traditional Uzbek long wind instrument, as a signal of welcome. Local young people, dressed in festive national costumes, were singing and dancing to the most invigorating beat to welcome the most honorable guest.
In a written speech, Xi extended warm greetings and best wishes to the government and people of Uzbekistan on behalf of the government and people of China. Xi underscored that spanning over two thousand years, the friendship between China and Uzbekistan and their people is still brimming with vigor and vitality.
The West is worried that the SCO a regional economic and security bloc widens Beijing and Moscow’s audience to countries representing half of the world’s population. Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan early on Thursday afternoon, a schedule distributed by the Russian delegation to media showed.
They will also hold a three-way meeting with Mongolian President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh.
Separately, the Uzbek government said Putin was travelling to Samarkand and would also meet Iranian, Kyrgyz, Pakistani, Turkmen and Uzbek leaders.
On Friday, Putin is set to meet the leaders of Azerbaijan, India and Turkey, it added in a statement.
Putin and Xi plan to discuss Ukraine and Taiwan at the meeting which the Kremlin says would hold “special significance” given the geopolitical situation.