First trip abroad in two and a half years – Xi meets Putin at SCO summit


Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping

In the conflict in Ukraine, China has positioned itself behind Putin and describes the USA and NATO as the main culprits in the crisis.


(Photo: dpa)

Beijing China's head of state and party leader Xi Jinping is traveling to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan this week for his first foreign visit in more than two and a half years. Chinese state television reported on Monday that Xi Jinping will attend the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Because of the corona pandemic, China's president has not made any trips abroad since January 2020 and has hardly received any foreign state guests in Beijing.

According to the Russian ambassador in Beijing, Xi Jinping will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the SCO summit on Thursday and Friday. It is the first face-to-face encounter between the two leaders since Russia invaded Ukraine. In the conflict, China has positioned itself behind Putin and describes the USA and NATO as the main culprits in the crisis.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the SCO summit. An encounter with Xi Jinping would be the first since the deadly incident between soldiers from both forces at the disputed Himalayan border two years ago. Both sides had just agreed on a troop withdrawal in the disputed area, which has already been completed.

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The SCO summit is expected to formally finalize Iran's admission to the organization. That's why Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi is supposed to arrive. In addition to China, Russia and India, the organization also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Iran has had observer status so far, as have Belarus and Mongolia. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey are classified as partner countries.

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