President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met with Xi Jinping, the leader of China, on Thursday in Uzbekistan, a summit meant to signal the strength of the connection between the 2 authoritarian leaders at a time of accelerating animosity with the West and challenges to their agendas.
Mr. Putin, who has develop into more isolated by the USA and its allies over his invasion of Ukraine, has faced a spate of recent losses on the battlefield. Mr. Xi, who’s under pressure because the country’s zero-Covid policy hurts the economy, must project power within the weeks before a gathering of the country’s Communist Party leadership.
The 2 held talks on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a multilateral, security-focused organization that features China, Russia, India, Pakistan and 4 Central Asian nations. Chinese official media outlets reported that the meeting had begun but released few details.
Chinese support is very important to Russia. China bought record levels of Russian oil in May, June and July. But Beijing has been careful to avoid violating sanctions on Russia that could lead on to it being punished as well.
Upon his arrival late Wednesday in Uzbekistan, Mr. Xi was greeted on the airport in Samarkand by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who, unlike Mr. Xi, was not wearing a mask. Chinese state media showed dancers and musicians in traditional costumes performing after which energetically applauding as Mr. Xi walked into the arrival hall.
Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi last met in February, before the beginning of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. In a 5,300-word statement, they declared a friendship with “no limits” and criticized the influence of the USA of their regions.
Russia invaded Ukraine days after the top of the Beijing Olympics, and China has refused to criticize Mr. Putin’s actions or seek advice from the conflict as a war.
For Mr. Xi, the meeting can be a likelihood to resume his role as a world statesman. It’s his first trip abroad since he went to Myanmar in January 2020. He traveled to Hong Kong for the twenty fifth anniversary of return to Chinese control on July 1, his first trip outside mainland China because the start of the pandemic.
As he tries to accumulate a regional power base, Mr. Xi went to Kazakhstan on Wednesday for a transient stop at first of his trip before heading to Uzbekistan within the evening. Mr. Xi used a 2013 trip to the country to announce an enormous international investment and development program that became generally known as the Belt and Road Initiative.