Chinese President Xi Jinping, (習近平) Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders from India and Central Asian nations gathered with other Asian leaders in the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand yesterday for a summit touted as a challenge to Western global influence.
Putin and Xi are being joined by the leaders of India, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and several other countries for the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Uzbek city.
The two leaders yesterday held separate meetings with leaders of ex-Soviet Central Asian nations. Putin sat with the presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, while Xi met Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Putin then met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, announcing that ties were “developing positively” between Moscow and Tehran, and giving his full backing to Iran’s application to become a member of the SCO.
Raisi told Putin that US-backed sanctions on both countries would only make their relationship “stronger.”
“The Americans think whichever country they impose sanctions on, it will be stopped. Their perception is a wrong one,” Raisi said.
For Putin, the summit is a chance to show that Russia is not isolated internationally, at a time when Moscow’s forces are facing major battlefield setbacks in Ukraine.
For Xi, on his first trip abroad since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is an opportunity to shore up his credentials as a global statesman ahead of a pivotal congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party next month.
The summit is also a chance for both leaders to send a signal to the West, especially the US, which has led the charge in imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine and angered Beijing with recent shows of support for Taiwan.
Entry to Samarkand, a city of grand tiled mosques that was one of the hubs of Silk Road trade routes between China and Europe, has been restricted for days, with its airport shut to commercial flights.
Security was tight across the city, with a huge police presence on the streets and armored vehicles parked downtown.
Residents expressed joy at hosting the meeting, pointing to Samarkand’s long history as an international crossroads.
“We are proud that so many leaders of various countries are gathering in our city. Samarkand from ancient times was a legendary city,” 26-year-old Shakhboz Kombarov said.
Other SCO governments include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan. Observers include Iran and Afghanistan.
Xi is promoting the Global Security Initiative, announced in April following the formation of a security alliance by Washington, Japan, Australia and India, called the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.
Xi has given few details, but US officials have said that the initiative echoes Russian arguments in support of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.
China’s economic inroads into Central Asia have fueled unease in Russia, which sees the region as its sphere of influence. Kazakhstan and its neighbors are trying to attract Chinese investment without upsetting Moscow.
Xi made a one-day visit on Wednesday to Kazakhstan en route to Uzbekistan.
Additional reporting by AP
BACK TO NORMAL? The move would be part of a gradual easing of curbs monitored by the CECC, which would retain the quarantine mandate if case numbers rise again The Cabinet yesterday approved a plan to next month reopen Taiwan’s borders to all visitors and lift the quarantine mandate for arrivals, provided the nation’s COVID-19 situation does not escalate. The changes are likely to take effect on Oct. 13 as part of a phased easing of border controls that is to start on Thursday next week when a negative polymerase chain reaction test result would no longer be needed, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Arriving travelers would instead be given four rapid antigen home test kits, Lo said. The three-day quarantine requirement followed by four days of mandatory
The Chinese navy has the ability to blockade Taiwan, but doing so could prompt a coordinated response by the international community to intervene to resolve the crisis for Taiwan, US Vice Admiral Karl Thomas said. “Clearly if they do something that’s non-kinetic, which, you know, a blockade is less kinetic ... then that allows the international community to weigh in and to work together on how we’re going to solve that challenge,” the commander of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Monday. While he could not predict whether China would launch a full-scale
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758