December 9, 2022

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The presidents of China, Xi Jinping, and Russia, Vladimir Putin, meet at the summit in Uzbekistan

The presidents of China, Xi Jinping, and Russia, Vladimir Putin, are meeting on Thursday in Uzbekistan at a regional summit.

This event is seen as a common front in front of the West, full of tensions exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, writes AFP, according to News.ro.

Xi and Putin are meeting in the city of Samarkand, a key stage on the ancient Silk Road, with the leaders of India, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and other countries for a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

If the main meeting of this summit will take place on Friday, the bilateral meeting between the Chinese and Russian presidents on Thursday will be the most watched, as their countries are at the center of international diplomatic crises.

For Putin, who is trying to accelerate a pivot to Asia in the face of Western sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, this summit is an opportunity to show that Russia is not isolated on the world stage.

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Xi Jinping, who is making his first trip abroad to Central Asia since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, will be able to strengthen his status as a top leader at the Chinese Communist Party congress in October, where he wants to get a third term.

Their meeting also has an air of defiance directed at the United States, which has taken over the leadership of sanctions against Moscow and the military support of Kiev, and which has angered Beijing after the visit of several American officials to Taiwan.

“The Shanghai Cooperation Organization offers a real alternative to Western-oriented structures”Kremlin diplomatic advisor Iuri Ushakov told the media on Tuesday.

Is about “the largest organization in the world, which includes half of the planet’s population” and she campaigns for “a just international order”, he added.

Ahead of the leaders’ arrival in Samarkand, a former major crossroads of trade routes between China and Europe, travel in the heavily-secured city was restricted and the airport was closed to commercial flights.

The streets of this city known for its mosques and mausoleums covered with blue mosaics were almost empty on Wednesday, AFP journalists found. Schools will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

The SCO, whose members are China, Russia, India, Pakistan and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, was created in 2001 as an instrument of political, economic and security cooperation to compete with Western organizations.

It is not a military alliance like NATO, nor a political integration organization like the European Union, but its members work together to meet common security challenges and promote trade.

The conflict in Ukraine, the situation in Afghanistan or the disturbances that have affected several countries in Central Asia in recent months are among the main topics addressed.

The main session of the summit this week will take place on Friday, but the focus will be on the multiple bilateral meetings scheduled for this occasion.

Thus, in addition to Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin will meet separately, on Thursday, with the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, whose country wants to join the OCS, and with the Pakistani prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, and on Friday with the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, and the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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