There are two things to be said about the Central Asian summit Xi Jinping is hosting in Xian today and tomorrow. The first is that it’s a happy piece of diplomatic timing. It shows he has other business in a part of the world to which the West has very limited access as the G7 frets about him in his absence in Hiroshima. The second is that Russia isn’t invited. The Stans, which stretch from the Caspian to Mongolia, have been part of Russia’s “near abroad” if not its empire for a century and half. If Putin had his way he would reabsorb them as soon as he was done with Ukraine. But Ukraine defies him and Central Asia sidles across the dance floor to a trading partner with whom trade has grown by 10,000 per cent since 1991. If anyone should be feeling fomo, it isn’t Xi.
Photographs Florence Lo/AFP via Getty Images