Chinese President Xi Jinping meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin this Thursday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan. On the agenda of the meeting, during Xi’s first trip abroad since the beginning of the pandemic, will be the situation in Ukraine, but also Taiwan. The two leaders defend “safeguarding common interests and promoting the development of the international order, in a more just and reasonable direction”, with the Kremlin claiming that the aim is to show an “alternative” to the Western world.
This will be the two leaders’ second meeting this year, the first having taken place in Beijing at the Winter Olympics, days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which Beijing neither supports nor condemns, not joining Western sanctions. At the time, both indicated that the friendship between the two countries “has no limits”. Since then, the relationship between China and the West has also been deteriorating due to the Taiwan issue – which Beijing says is part of its territory.
Before arriving in Uzbekistan, Xi was in Kazakhstan, where he promised to support the sovereignty of the former Soviet republic in a meeting with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. “Regardless of changes in the international situation, we will continue to resolutely support Kazakhstan in protecting its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said the Chinese president.
After the invasion of Ukraine, he spoke again about the risk of Russia, one day, wanting to do the same in Kazakhstan – a traditional ally of Moscow that does not support the Russian military operation. Beijing supports the reforms being carried out by Tokayev, after protests over rising fuel prices culminated in an alleged coup attempt.
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