According to a Russian official, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet next week in Uzbekistan. This summit might be seen as another step toward improving relations between the two countries, which are increasingly at odds with the West.
Both leaders are in precarious situations when they meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a political, economic, and security body that China and Russia dominate.
Putin is coping with the political and economic repercussions of his war in Ukraine, which has further isolated Russia. While Xi is running for a third five-year term as the leader of the Communist Party, the economy is also slowing down. Even though it’s assumed that he’ll get it, that would be an exception to the rule. Both have observed a decline in their nations’ ties with the West.
The two would meet during the organization’s summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on September 15–16, according to Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov. Denisov quoted Russia’s official news outlet Tass as adding, “We are actively preparing for it.”
If it happens, Xi’s journey to Uzbekistan would be his first international trip in two and a half years. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in late 2019, Xi has only been outside of mainland China once, during a one-day visit to the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.
Briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning responded to a question regarding the trip by saying, “On your question, I have nothing to contribute.”
With tight borders, autocratic control, and little concern for free speech, minority rights, or alternative politics, Moscow and Beijing have increasingly coordinated their foreign strategies to challenge liberal democratic movements in Asia, Europe, and beyond.
An additional sign of the two countries growing closeness was the extensive military exercises that the Russian military conducted in the country’s east and ended on Wednesday.
Each leader might hope the conference will improve his reputation back home. For Putin, it’s a chance to demonstrate that he still has significant allies. As relations with the U.S. have grown tenser over trade, technology, human rights concerns, and its threats to invade Taiwan, Xi may have the opportunity to be viewed as defying Western opposition to the Ukraine war and bolster his nationalist credentials.
China Party Congress
The declaration of a Communist party gathering, anticipated to set Xi Jinping’s plan for the upcoming years, demonstrates the power of Xi’s “ultimate authority.”
The twice-per-decade CCP summit will get underway on October 16 and will last several days. Since taking over the party in late 2012, Xi, regarded as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, has exercised his political authority with a growing authoritarian bent.
Observers have expressed some uncertainty in light of recent domestic and international issues. Still, Xi is anticipated to continue in office for several years since he eliminated the two-term presidential restriction in 2018.
More than 2,000 party members will attend the meeting, where new members will be chosen for the central committee’s 200 exclusive members. Some will attend the crucial seven-member standing committee, while others will join the 25-member politburo. Future policy directions will also be revealed at the occasion.
The date, which roughly corresponds with when prior meetings have been held, suggests that intra-party disputes have been reined in. According to analysts, the new committee members are likely to have been finalized. Very little information has been released.
The international tours, which occurred right before China’s party congress, would also portray Xi as assured of his position.
Weeks before the Kremlin pushed soldiers into Ukraine, Putin and Xi last met in Beijing in February. The two presidents oversaw signing an agreement guaranteeing that relations between the sides would have “no limits.” It remains unclear whether Xi knew at the time of Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine.
China has made an effort to maintain neutrality and prevent any negative consequences from appearing to boost the Russian economy in the face of international sanctions while expressing its tacit support for Russia’s efforts there.
Although Moscow and Beijing have rejected the idea, Putin has stated that the notion of a military alliance can’t be ruled out. He also mentioned that China had received extremely sensitive military technologies from Russia, which have considerably improved China’s defense capabilities.