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Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to continue strengthening relations during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

During the summit, Putin praised the SCO for “strengthening its role as one of the key pillars of a fair multipolar world order.” He emphasized that their cooperation “is not aimed against anyone,” adding, “we are not creating any blocs or alliances, we are just acting in the interests of our peoples.” Putin said China and Russia’s “comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation are experiencing their best period in history.”

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Xi highlighted the importance of their relationship amid a “turbulent international situation and external environment,” calling Putin an “old friend” and affirming that Russia and China “should continue to uphold the original aspiration of friendship for generations to come.”

The leaders also discussed plans to deepen cooperation within the SCO and increasing the number of member states to ten. Both leaders praised the expanding membership, especially with Belarus anticipated to join.


Their meeting, the second in two months, occurred as both nations faced pressure from the West over their regional policies. During their last meeting in Beijing, they pledged to deepen ties and took veiled swipes at international organizations, including the United Nations and NATO. Despite their public show of unity, underlying competition exists, particularly as China expands its economic influence in Central Asia, potentially at Russia’s expense.


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