Central asia

What Xi wants from Central Asia

President Xi Jinping hasn’t stepped outside his country since the pandemic began. For almost three years, China’s elderly leaders have been swaddled inside Beijing; journalists granted an audience with Xi have told me that they had to go through days of hotel quarantine before the meeting. Today Xi returns to the global stage. His first stop is Kazakhstan, a country rarely on the minds of western politicians. It goes to show how important China’s western backyard is to the country. Washington and London are attempting to pivot to the Indo-Pacific to respond to Chinese influence in the South and East China seas; what they’ve failed to focus on is Beijing’s