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Putin, Xi vow to work as ‘great powers’ to thwart West’s attempt to create a ‘unipolar world’

Chinese President Xi Jinping & Russian President Vladimir Putin met in person for first time since the beginning of Russia-Ukraine war on sidelines of SCO Summit in Uzbekistan.

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Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Chinese President Xi Jinping met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Thursday and vowed to work together as “great powers” even as they both sought to lambast the West for creating a “unipolar world”.

As was widely expected, Xi and Putin met on the sidelines of the meeting of the Council of Heads of States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. 

This was their first in-person meeting since the Russia-Ukraine war began in February this year. Both leaders last met in Beijing when Putin had gone there for the Winter Olympics, weeks before Moscow launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine on 24 February.

During the Beijing meeting, the two leaders had proclaimed a “no limits” friendship and that there are “no forbidden areas of cooperation”. 

“China is willing to make efforts with Russia to assume the role of great powers and play a guiding role to inject stability and positive energy into a world rocked by social turmoil,” Chinese President Xi told Putin during the meeting Thursday.

Notably, this is also Xi’s first overseas trip since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019.

During their interaction in Samarkand, Xi also told Putin that Beijing is willing to use the regional grouping of the SCO “to exchange views on regional and international issues of common concern”.

“In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in the history of our times, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in bringing such a rapidly changing world onto a trajectory of sustainable and positive development,” Xi said in the meeting.

Sitting face-to-face, across a typical wooden carved Samarkand-style table, both leaders appeared to be exhibiting comfortable body language while presenting a united front against the West, particularly the US. 

Putin, on his part, thanked Xi for taking a “balanced position” on the Russia-Ukraine war.

“We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis. We understand your questions and concerns in this regard. During today’s meeting, of course, we will explain in detail our position on this issue, although we have spoken about this before,” Putin told Xi during the meeting.

Putin also said Russia will strictly adhere to the “One China” policy when it comes to Taiwan. “We condemn the provocations of the United States and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait,” he said.

Putin also emphasised that there should be an “all-round strengthening of the SCO as a platform for constructive and constructive interaction”. 

According to a statement by the Kremlin, Putin said the SCO is the only multilateral body currently that respects “each other’s sovereignty and [its] refusal to interfere in internal affairs made it possible to turn this organization into an effective mechanism for multilateral cooperation”.

Putin also met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO and discussed enhancement of ties, especially in trade and investments.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)


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