Putin, Xi meet to bolster alliance against West ahead of NATO summit

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to meet Wednesday for the second time since May to demonstrate their alliance against the U.S. and its Western allies. 

The pair will reunite for the annual session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – a group founded in part to counter Western domination – in Kazakhstan along with other world leaders. 

Apart from Putin, Xi and the host, Kazak President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, leaders from Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Iran’s acting President Mohammad Mokhbar will be at the SCO conference. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands prior to their talks in Beijing, May 16, 2024. (Sergei Bobylev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

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Of the nine member nations, only India is not sending its national leader, instead Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sending his foreign minister to the meeting. 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will also be in attendance as the top Putin ally is becoming the 10th member nation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also reportedly be in Kazakhstan as Turkey shares partner status with the group.

The two-day meeting comes less than a week ahead of the NATO summit in Washington, D.C., and Erdogan is the only world leader who will be in attendance at both top sessions. 

The Turkish leader, who at times has caused hurdles for the NATO alliance, particularly as Sweden and Finland looked to join the military partnership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has also played a role in communicating with Russia amid the war in Europe and has offered to serve as mediator between Moscow and Kyiv. 

Erdogan is reportedly expected to use the SCO session to attempt further discussions with Putin, who has repeatedly postponed visits to Turkey.

Erdogan Biden G7

President Biden and Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meet during the G-7 summit on June 14, 2024, in Fasano, Italy. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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In a similar geopolitical quagmire, India is attempting to balance its ties with Russia while also maintaining its alliances with the West.

Modi is reported to be missing this year’s SCO conference due to a parliamentary session. But his attendance at the G-7 summit last month – an international group that India is not a member of – has sparked speculation that the decision not to attend was made due to Modi’s attempt to walk a geopolitical tight rope. 

Nations like Kazakhstan will use the SCO conference to bolster economic and political ties with their neighboring nations.

Putin in New Delhi

Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, on Dec. 6, 2021. (T. Narayan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Putin is expected to use the meetup as another opportunity to show that Russia is not isolated from the international community despite Western sanctions and global rebuke over the war in Ukraine. 

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will also be in attendance to continue communications with all major world players. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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