SAMARKAND: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping looked to rally Asian leaders behind a new “international order” as they met Friday for a summit aimed at challenging Western influence.
But cracks in summit solidarity quickly appeared, with India s prime minister telling Putin it was “not the time” for the conflict in Ukraine.
Adding to the tension, the forces of two countries — Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — engaged in fierce border clashes while their leaders were in attendance.
Washington said remarks from Putin at the summit on addressing “concerns” about Ukraine from China and India increased pressure on Russia to end its military offensive.
The meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in ex-Soviet Uzbekistan brought Putin and Xi together with the leaders of SCO members India, Pakistan, and four Central Asian nations, as well as the presidents of Iran and Turkey.
Putin and Xi met on Thursday for their first face-to-face talks since Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February, and on the Chinese leader s first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
The summit was put forward by the Kremlin as an alternative to “Western-centric organisations”, at a time of increasing pressure on Moscow over Ukraine and growing anger in Beijing over US support for Taiwan.
Xi told the gathered leaders it was time to reshape the international system and “abandon zero-sum games and bloc politics”.
They should “work together to promote the development of the international order in a more just and rational direction,” Xi told a joint session.