Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to meet next week

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are to meet next week at a summit in Uzbekistan.

he pair will meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on September 15-16, Russian ambassador to China Andrei Denisov told reporters.

“Less than 10 days from now another meeting of our leaders will take place at the SCO summit in Samarkand. We are actively preparing for it,” Mr Denisov was quoted by Russia’s state news agency Tass as saying.

Mr Putin and Mr Xi last met in Beijing in February, weeks before the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine.

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President Xi Jinping last met Vladimir Putin in February (Ng Han Guan/AP)

The two presidents oversaw the signing of an agreement pledging that relations between the sides would have “no limits”.

It remains unclear whether Mr Xi knew at the time of Russia’s plan to launch what Moscow is calling “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 possible repercussions from supporting the Russian economy amid international sanctions.

Moscow and Beijing have increasingly aligned their foreign policies to oppose liberal democratic forces in Asia, Europe and beyond, making a stand for authoritarian rule with tight borders and little regard for free speech, minority rights or opposition politics.

The Russian military earlier this week announced sweeping military drills in the country’s east that will involve forces from China, another show of increasingly close ties between Moscow and Beijing amid tensions with the West over the military action in Ukraine.

Even though Moscow and Beijing in the past rejected the possibility of forging a military alliance, Mr Putin has said that such a prospect cannot be ruled out.

He also has noted that Russia has been sharing highly sensitive military technologies with China that helped significantly bolster its defence capability.

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