Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping to meet for high-stakes talks in challenge to West

4 months 2 weeks ago - 4 months 2 weeks ago #164698 by geemong
Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping to meet for high-stakes talks in challenge to West

Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping will gather with other Asian leaders in the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand from Thursday (Sep 15) for a regional summit touted as a challenge to Western global influence.

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Xi and Putin will be joined by the leaders of India, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and several other countries for the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Uzbek city on Thursday and Friday.

The main summit day will be Friday, but it is a meeting of the Russian and Chinese leaders on Thursday that will be the most closely watched.

For Putin, the summit is a chance to show that Russia cannot be isolated internationally, at a time when Moscow's forces are facing major battlefield setbacks in Ukraine.

For Xi - on his first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic - it is an opportunity to shore up his credentials as a global statesman ahead of a pivotal congress of the ruling Communist Party in October.

And for both leaders, the summit will be a chance to thumb their noses at the West, especially the United States, which has led the charge in imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine and angered Beijing with recent shows of support for Taiwan.

"The SCO offers a real alternative to Western-centric organisations," Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow this week.

"All members of the SCO stand for a just world order," he said, describing the summit as taking place "against the background of large-scale geopolitical changes".

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