Chinese President Xi Jinping has not traveled outside of China since the start of the Corona epidemic. After almost 1000 days, on Wednesday, he came to attend the summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization for the first time abroad.

Analysts say Xi’s return to the world stage is aimed at restoring Beijing’s influence amid growing conflict with the West.

Xi will pay a state visit to Kazakhstan before heading to neighboring Uzbekistan for a regional summit on Wednesday, US news outlet CNN reported. He will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin there. This is their first personal meeting since the invasion of Ukraine.

The two powerful leaders declared ‘unlimited’ friendship just weeks before launching a special military operation in Ukraine. Beijing has also promised to strengthen ties with Moscow throughout the war.

The Russia-Ukraine situation and the China-Taiwan situation have made the relationship between the two countries more tense with the West. Russia and China have also strengthened their close ties.

The meeting between the two leaders will be held on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. The Chinese-led regional security and economic grouping brings together countries from India to Iran.

Analysts consider the visit more important for Xi’s power. Because a political meeting is scheduled to be held in Beijing a few weeks after the visit. Xi’s third term in power in China depends to a large extent on the meeting. The move, if successful, would pave the way for Xi to become China’s most powerful leader in decades. According to analysts, Xi will be China’s most influential leader since Mao Zedong.

Steven Tsang, director of the China Institute at London’s SOAS University, said Xi was feeling comfortable enough to travel outside China in the lead-up to next month’s highly productive political gathering. This shows that he is confident of his hold on power.

According to Tsang, the choice of destination is also consistent with Xi’s obsession with control.

He also said, ‘He is someone who wants to control everything. He is one of 20 people at the G-20 summit and has little control over it. But China is able to set the agenda in the SCO. He wants to emphasize that he is still in charge and working with friends and partners. Agreed on all agenda including SCO Summit in Central Asia, Putin’s attendance.’

(September 14)