Putin and Xi pose as a counterweight to the Western order – 09/16/2022 at 19:34

Putin and Xi pose as a counterweight to the Western order - 09/16/2022 at 19:34
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand, September 16, 2022 (SPUTNIK/Sergei BOBYLYOV)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand, September 16, 2022 (SPUTNIK/Sergei BOBYLYOV)

Chinese Presidents Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin posed as a counterweight to Western influence on Friday at a regional summit bringing together several countries with strained relations with the United States.

But the solidarity between the participants of the summit showed some fractures. Thus, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing Mr. Putin, argued that “the time is not for war”, while Moscow is engaged militarily in Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reacted by saying that Russia was under “pressure” to complete its intervention against kyiv, after the “concerns” expressed by Beijing and Delhi on the subject during the summit.

At the same time, two Central Asian countries, whose leaders are present at the summit, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, clashed in border battles that left dozens injured, prompting the announcement of a ceasefire. emergency fire.

This event comes at a time when Moscow and Beijing have extremely strained relations with Washington due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and American support for Taiwan.

– Putin “in no hurry” in Ukraine –

During the main session of the summit, Xi called on the gathered leaders to “work together to promote an international order that moves in a more just direction.”

It should “let go of zero-sum games and the politics of creating blocks”, he continued. He did not name any country, but Beijing generally uses this vocabulary to denounce the United States and its close allies.

The Russian president, for his part, welcomed the “increasing role of the new centers of power” which, according to him, “is becoming more and more obvious”.

Putin said cooperation between SCO member countries, unlike the West, was based on “unselfish” principles.

However, signs of disagreement did not fail to appear.

“Excellency, I know this is not the time for war,” Indian leader Narendra Modi told Mr Putin at the start of a face-to-face meeting.

Mr. Putin, in response, said he heard his “concerns”, using a formula he had had the day before with Xi Jinping. The Russian president told Mr. Modi that he would “do everything” to ensure that the conflict in Ukraine “ends as soon as possible”.

Map of member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) (AFP / )

Map of member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) (AFP / )

But, speaking a little later to the Russian press, Mr Putin declared that Moscow was in no hurry to complete its “key objective” in Ukraine: the conquest of Donbass, a region in the south-east of the country in part controlled by the Russian army.

“The plan (of operations, editor’s note) does not require change (…) we are in no hurry,” said Mr. Putin.

– Moscow in search of allies –

From L to R, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh during a trilateral meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand on September 15, 2022 ( SPUTNIK / Alexandr Demyanchuk)

From L to R, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh during a trilateral meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand on September 15, 2022 ( SPUTNIK / Alexandr Demyanchuk)

The SCO, whose members are China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four former Soviet republics in Central Asia, was established in 2001 as a platform for cooperation competing with Western organizations.

But significant differences remain within the alliance. The leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan met urgently at the summit to announce a ceasefire after an escalation of violence on the disputed border between these two Central Asian countries.

MM. Putin and Xi also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who called for an end to the war in Ukraine “as soon as possible through diplomatic channels”. Recently, Ankara played a key role in finding an agreement between Moscow and kyiv on the export of cereals from Ukraine, vital for many countries around the world.

Russia has since been targeted by heavy Western economic sanctions and is increasingly turning to Asia for economic and diplomatic support.

During a Thursday meeting with Mr. Xi, Mr. Putin thanked his Chinese counterpart for his “balanced position” on Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, while promising him “explanations” in the face of his “concerns”. .

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022 (SPUTNIK/Sergei BOBYLYOV)

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022 (SPUTNIK/Sergei BOBYLYOV)

Mr. Xi, who is making his first trip abroad since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, hopes to further strengthen his stature as a major leader ahead of a Chinese Communist Party congress in October, during which he will seek a new term. .

The choice of Central Asia as the first foreign destination in more than two years illustrates above all the importance that Beijing attaches to this region, which is crossed by the “new silk roads”, a titanic project carried out by Mr. Xi to strengthen trade links with the world.

Ahead of the summit, Xi visited Kazakhstan on Wednesday, promising to help it “safeguard its sovereignty” as the country worries about Russian ambitions after invading Ukraine.

Mr. Xi also spoke with Mr. Erdogan and Iranian leader Ebrahim Raisi on Friday, as the Iranian nuclear negotiations are slipping.

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