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Russia-China: what to remember from the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping

Their previous meeting dated back to February 2022, when Vladimir Putin traveled to the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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Russia-China: what to remember from the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping

Their previous meeting dated back to February 2022, when Vladimir Putin traveled to the Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Russian president and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping then proclaimed their "limitless" friendship. For their first meeting since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin showed this Thursday, September 15 their desire to support each other and strengthen their ties in the midst of a crisis with Westerners.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, at a time when relations between their countries and the United States are highly strained. The SCO, whose members are China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four former Soviet republics of Central Asia, was created in 2001 as a tool for political, economic and security cooperation competing with the Western organizations.

"China is willing to work with Russia to shoulder their great power responsibilities, play a leading role, and inject stability and positive energy into a chaotic world," Xi Jinping said at the start. interview broadcast live.

According to Chinese state television, Xi Jinping also told Vladimir Putin that China is ready to "work with Russia for firm and mutual support on issues related to each other's core interests and deepen cooperation."

The Russian president, for his part, denounced Western attempts to "create a unipolar world", which have "recently taken an absolutely ugly form and are totally unacceptable". If he welcomed this Thursday the "balanced position" of Xi Jinping on Ukraine, the Russian head of state also said "understand (his) questions and (his) concerns" on this subject.

“We will explain our position in detail,” he added, without further details. Beijing has neither supported nor publicly criticized the Russian invasion, while repeatedly expressing its support for Moscow in the face of Western sanctions.

During the meeting between the two men on Thursday, Vladimir Putin reiterated Moscow's support for Beijing over Taiwan, where visits by US officials in recent weeks have sparked the ire of China. "We condemn the provocation of the United States," said the Russian president, stressing that Moscow adheres to the principle of "one China" which wants Taiwan to be an integral part of Chinese territory.

"I am convinced that our meeting today will give additional impetus to strengthening the strategic partnership between Russia and China," Vladimir Putin added. The rapprochement between Beijing and Moscow, whose relations are not free from friction, stands out against the United States which they consider hostile to their interests.

The meeting between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin was the most anticipated event of the SCO summit which is due to last until Friday and brings together several leaders. Before Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin spoke with the presidents of Iran Ebrahim Raïssi, Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, and Turkmenistan, Serdar Berdymoukhamedov. Vladimir Putin is due to hold talks with several other officials, including Friday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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