Putin and Xi meet in Uzbekistan while the Ukraine conflict takes center stage.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan greets Chinese President Xi Jinping as he arrives in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, in this image published by Xinhua News Agency. hide caption Li Xueren

switch to caption Image by Li Xueren/AP President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan greets Chinese President Xi Jinping as he arrives in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, in this image published by Xinhua News Agency.

Li Xueren / AP BEIJING The leaders of India, China, and Central Asian countries, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin, arrived in Uzbekistan on Thursday for a summit of a security alliance Beijing and Moscow created to counterbalance American dominance.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit takes place at a time when Putin is marginalized internationally as a result of his invasion of Ukraine. Disagreements over technology, security, and territory have strained Beijing’s relations with the United States, Europe, Japan, and India.

The occasion in the historic sultanate of Samarkand is a part of Xi’s first international tour since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak two and a half years ago, emphasizing Beijing’s aim to project its dominance in the region.

According to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the president of Uzbekistan, welcomed Xi at the Samarkand airport. On karnays, a traditional wind instrument that resembles a long trumpet, musicians performed a fanfare.

According to the assistant to the Russian president on international issues, Putin and Xi were scheduled to have a private meeting and talk about Ukraine.

According to his administration, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to arrive on Thursday. However, it remained unclear if he would meet separately with Xi or Putin.

Conflicts between soldiers from the two countries over a boundary in a remote region of the Himalayas have strained ties between China and India.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan are other SCO nations. Afghanistan and Iran are among the observers.

The Quad was established in April by Washington, Japan, Australia, and India in reaction to Beijing’s increasingly muscular foreign policy, and the Chinese leader is promoting it now. Although Xi has provided few details, U.S. officials claim they are consistent with Russian justifications for Moscow’s aggression on Ukraine.

The area is a component of China’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to increase trade by developing ports, railroads, and other infrastructure over a vast arc of several dozen nations, extending from the South Pacific through Asia to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

Russia, which sees Central Asia as its sphere of influence, is uneasy about China’s economic advances there. Without offending Moscow, Kazakhstan and its neighbors are attempting to entice Chinese investment.

On his way to Uzbekistan on Wednesday, Xi stopped in Kazakhstan for a single day.
While both Pope Francis and Xi were in Kazakhstan at the same time, they did not interact.

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