ASTANA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Wednesday for a state visit to Kazakhstan.
In the Central Asian country, Xi will also attend the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the opening ceremony of the Expo 2017 in Astana.
The trip marks Xi's first visit to Central Asia this year. The Chinese leader had visited Kazakhstan twice since taking office, respectively in 2013 and 2015.
"I cannot but recall the fond memories of the magnificent Kazakh steppe, vibrant rivers, the phenomenal national development, and most of all, the warm-hearted and sincere Kazakh people," Xi said in an article published earlier Wednesday in a Kazakh newspaper.
Xi's presence at the Expo 2017 in Astana, with the theme "future energy," not only shows China's full support to Kazakhstan, but also the importance China attaches to new energy, said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai on Monday.
The highlight of this year's SCO summit will be the formal accession of India and Pakistan to the SCO and China's assumption of the bloc's presidency upon conclusion of the meeting, according to Sun Zhuangzhi, secretary-general of the SCO Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.