MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet next week at a summit in Uzbekistan, a Russian official said on Wednesday.
The two leaders will meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, which will be held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on September 15-16, Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov told reporters.
“In less than 10 days, another meeting of our leaders will take place at the SCO summit in Samarkand. We are actively preparing for this,” Denisov was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying.
The visit to Uzbekistan, if it takes place, will be Xi’s first overseas trip in two and a half years. Russian media also reported Xi’s plans to visit Kazakhstan ahead of the summit in Uzbekistan, but these reports are unconfirmed.
Asked about the trip to Uzbekistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning told a daily press briefing on Wednesday: “On your question, I have nothing to offer.”
Putin and Xi last met in Beijing in February, weeks before the Kremlin sent troops to Ukraine. The two presidents oversaw the signing of an agreement pledging that the relationship between the parties would have “no limits”. It remains unclear whether Xi was aware at the time of Russia’s plan to launch what Moscow calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine.
While offering its tacit support for Russia’s campaign in Ukraine, China has sought to appear neutral and avoid the possible repercussions of supporting Russia’s economy under international sanctions.
Moscow and Beijing have increasingly aligned their foreign policies to oppose liberal democratic forces in Asia, Europe and beyond, taking a stand for an authoritarian regime with narrow borders and little regard for free speech. , minority rights or opposition politics.
The Russian military has held extensive military exercises that began last week and ended Wednesday in the east of the country with Chinese forces, further evidence of increasingly close ties between Moscow and Beijing amid the tensions with the West over military action in Ukraine.
Even though Moscow and Beijing have in the past rejected the possibility of forging a military alliance, Putin said such a prospect cannot be ruled out. He also noted that Russia shares highly sensitive military technologies with China that have helped significantly boost its defense capability.