China’s Xi to visit Kazakhstan, Tajikistan July 2-6: foreign ministry

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Beijing, June 30 (AFP/APP):Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend a leaders' meeting and pay state visits to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan starting on Tuesday, the foreign ministry announced Sunday.
              Beijing has ramped up diplomatic efforts in Central Asia, with Xi calling for a deepening of economic ties during a summit China hosted last May that was attended by leaders of several countries in the region.
              "President Xi Jinping will attend the 24th meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization held in Astana" and conduct state visits to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Sunday in a statement.
              Xi's two state visits during the trip -- scheduled to last from July 2-6 -- came at the invitations of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan and President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, she added.
              Central Asia is a vital link in China's flagship Belt and Road international infrastructure development project.
                                The summit last May saw China pledge to expand transport links with the region and forge ahead with a Central Asia-China gas pipeline.