A conference in Uzbekistan will bring together Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a Russian official said on Wednesday.
According to Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov, the two presidents will interact during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting, which will take place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 15–16.
“An further gathering of our leaders will occur at the SCO summit in Samarkand in less than 10 days. We are actively getting ready for it,” Denisov was cited as saying by Tass, the official Russian news agency.
If the trip to Uzbekistan goes forward, it will be Xi’s first overseas travel in two and a half years. Prior to the conference in Uzbekistan, Xi was reportedly planning to visit Kazakhstan, according to Russian media, although the rumors have not been substantiated.
Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, responded to an inquiry regarding the Uzbekistan trip by saying, “On your question, I have nothing to share.”
The last time Putin and Xi met was in February in Beijing, just before the Kremlin ordered soldiers into Ukraine. An agreement promising that contacts between the parties would have “no limitations” was signed under the supervision of the two presidents. It is yet unknown whether Xi was aware of Russia’s intention to conduct what Moscow refers to as “a special military operation” in Ukraine at the time.
China has attempted to look impartial and avoid any potential consequences by providing its covert assistance for Russia’s assault in Ukraine under international sanctions.
In order to counter liberal democratic movements in Asia, Europe, and beyond, Moscow and Beijing have increasingly coordinated their foreign policies. They are promoting authoritarian rule with strict border controls and scant concern for free speech, minority rights, or opposition parties.
In the midst of tensions with the West over the military action in Ukraine, the Russian military conducted extensive military exercises in the country’s east that started last week and ended on Wednesday. These exercises included forces from China. They were another sign of the growing closeness between Moscow and Beijing.
Putin has said that the notion of a military alliance can’t be ruled out, despite Moscow and Beijing having previously rejected the idea. He also said that China has received extremely sensitive military technology from Russia, which have considerably improved China’s defense capabilities.