Xi, Putin meet in Uzbekistan as Ukraine war dominates

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin met for talks on boosting ties between their countries Thursday, an encounter that follows a major setback for Moscow on the battlefield in Ukraine.

The two leaders met in Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security alliance created as a counterweight to U.S. influence that also includes India, Pakistan and four ex-Soviet nations in Central Asia.

Along with Russian’s attack on Ukraine, backdropping the summit are the brief eruption not far from the event site of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as strains in China’s relations with Washington, Europe, Japan and India due to disputes over technology, security and territory.

Speaking at the start of his one-on-one talks with Xi, Putin blasted what he described as an “ugly” effort by the United States and its allies to maintain their perceived global domination.

“Attempts to create a unipolar world have recently taken an absolutely ugly shape. They are absolutely unacceptable for the vast majority of countries on the globe,” the Russian president said in opening remarks.

Xi was more careful, saying that together with Russia, China was ready to “set an example of a responsible world power and to play a leading role to take the rapidly changing world on a track of sustainable and positive development.”

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