Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the creation of a Silk Road Economic Belt to enable more cooperation between China and Central Asia at a speech he gave on September 7. According to Xi, who spoke from Nazarbayev University in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, the Economic Belt would “boast a 3-billion population” and would strengthen “policy communications, road connections, trade facilitation, currency circulation and interpersonal exchange”. The unprecedented scale of the Economic Belt would purportedly move Eurasian countries towards regional economic integration. During his three-day visit to Kazakhstan, Xi and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev agreed to reach the goal of boosting bilateral trade volume to $40 billion by 2015. They also closed on deals worth $30 billion, including one in the energy sector worth $5 billion, under which Kazakhstan will sell 8% of the offshore oilfield in the Caspian Sea to China. Xi has since arrived in Uzbekistan in continuation of his four-nation Central Asia Tour. These are clear indications that China is extending its policy into Central Asia by encouraging more interactions with her western neighbors for economic and security reasons. (Reuters, September 7; Global Times, September 9; China Daily, September 11, 2013)