There is powerful symbolism in the eight-day tour by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, encompassing Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Latvia. As well as bilateral meetings in each country, Li is also taking part in the prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek and the fifth summit of CEEC leaders (China and Central and Eastern European Countries). This long trip, from Nov. 2 to Nov. 9, is significant for four reasons:
First, the visit takes place against the backdrop of growing concern in the West about a "crisis of globalization." In the past five months alone, the Brexit vote, the near-failure of the European Union's Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada, and growing criticisms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership trade agreements have reinforced concerns that the era of growing global openness may be coming to an end.