China media: Xi's diplomacy
Media and experts analyse China's ties with Russia and India, while warning Beijing against any "direct involvement" in the Middle East.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will begin his week-long trip to Central and South Asia on Thursday.
According to the Beijing News, Mr Xi will attend a meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) in Tajikistan before leaving for the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India.
The SCO group - including China, Russia and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - was formed in 2001 to curb extremism in the region and enhance border security. It was widely viewed as a countermeasure to curb the influence of Western alliances such as Nato.
Jia Xiudong, an international affairs expert at the China Institute of International Studies, notes that Mr Xi will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin during the SCO summit.
"This will be the fourth meeting between the two leaders this year… Although many observers are still focusing on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the two leaders are unlikely to have time to discuss the issue. Instead, they will talk about the development of the bilateral relationship between the two countries," he writes in the Beijing News.
Commenting on China-India ties, the pundit adds that Mr Xi's visit to the country will "send a strong signal" that both nations are capable of overcoming their border disputes.
"The mutual interests between the two countries are much bigger than the differences, and both have the ability to push their bilateral relationship to a higher level," he says.
Echoing similar sentiments, South Asia expert Sun Shihai tells the Beijing Times that both countries are "concentrating on efforts to develop their own economies and to improve the regional environment".
"There are frictions over border disputes, but on the whole the relationship is a good one," he adds.
Hu Shisheng, a researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, points out that the leaders of both countries will "set a foundation for the Sino-Indian relationship in the next five to 10 years during this visit".
Fight against IS
Meanwhile, some experts have cautioned that China should not be "directly involved" in fighting the Islamic State (IS).
The IS is a radical Islamist group that has seized large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq.
In the article published in the Global Times' Chinese edition, Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Ministry of Commerce, says some analysts feel that US national security adviser Susan Rice, who visited Beijing earlier this week, "may have persuaded China to join the fight against the group".
However, the pundit warns that China should not become a "martyr" in the war against the IS, but it must "stay alert to guard against the group's infiltration into the country".
"Against the backdrop of surging religious extremism, if we follow the footsteps of the US in starting a war and pumping in huge resources in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of stabilising the region, we will fall into the trap set up by the West to deplete our national strength," he says.