20.5 C
New York
Saturday, July 20, 2024

Leaders of China and Russia deepen cooperation at Central Asian summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Kazakhstan on Wednesday for the second time in two months. They attended a session of an international group founded to counter Western alliances.

Their last meeting was in May when Putin visited Beijing to reinforce their close partnership against the U.S.-led democratic order and to promote a multipolar world.

The current meeting is part of the annual session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Astana, Kazakhstan, held on Wednesday and Thursday.

What is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?

Established in 2001 by China and Russia, the SCO addresses security concerns in Central Asia and the wider region. Members include Iran, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Observer states and dialogue partners include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Who’s attending this year?

Besides Putin and Xi, other attendees include:

  • President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (Kazakhstan)
  • Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (Pakistan)
  • President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (Uzbekistan)
  • President Emomali Rakhmon (Tajikistan)
  • President Sadyr Zhaparov (Kyrgyzstan)
  • President Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus, becoming a full member)
  • Acting President Mohammad Mokhbar (Iran)
  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey)
  • President Ilham Aliyev (Azerbaijan)
  • U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres

Who’s not attending?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sending his foreign minister, possibly due to parliamentary commitments and balancing relations with Russia and the West.

Goals of the meeting

Putin aims to show Russia is not isolated despite Western sanctions over Ukraine. An International Criminal Court arrest warrant for war crimes does not apply in Kazakhstan, which is not a party to the Rome Statute.

Also Read: Hungary’s Russia-Aligned PM Makes Initial Wartime Visit to Ukraine

For Xi, the SCO meeting is about projecting China’s influence and promoting it as an alternative to the U.S. and its allies. China remains a top market for Russian oil and gas, and a source of high-tech imports critical to Russia.

Host Kazakhstan and other Central Asian nations seek to balance cooperation with powerful neighbors and maintain ties with the West.

Discussion topics

Counterterrorism is a key focus. The SCO is not a collective security or economic alliance, and its principal value lies in the optics of non-Western countries gathering together.

Tensions within the SCO

Political differences, such as between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, complicate collective agreements. Central Asian countries balance relations with Russia and China while maintaining good terms with Western nations.

Potential discussions on Ukraine

Although no major talks on Ukraine are expected, sideline discussions are possible given the presence of leaders from Russia, China, Turkey, and the U.N. Putin may aim to show that many countries are ambivalent toward the war in Ukraine.

John Collins
John Collins
John is an esteemed journalist and author renowned for their incisive reporting and deep insights into global affairs. As a prominent contributor to City Telegraph, John brings over 5 years of experience covering diverse geopolitical landscapes, from the corridors of power in major capitals to the frontlines of conflict zones.

Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.