Putin to meet Xi in person next week

Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed plans to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan next week.

The confirmation came during his meeting on Wednesday with the chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, Li Zhanshu.

Li was attending the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, where Putin gave a speech.

Russia's presidential office said Putin welcomed the third-highest-ranking government official in Beijing, saying Li's visit "underlines the special nature of Russian-Chinese relations."

Putin also expressed hopes to meet with President Xi soon.

He said he will hold talks with Xi during the two-day meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan starting September 15.

Putin and Xi have held phone talks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but this is the first time they will be meeting in person since February 4.

Putin also unveiled plans to hold three-way talks with Mongolian President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh at the event in Uzbekistan.

The Putin administration has been strengthening ties with Beijing. The Chinese military took part in Russia's large-scale military exercise held in the Far East for a week through Wednesday.

As Russia continues to be slapped with severe sanctions by Europe and the United States, it's seen likely that Moscow will forge closer ties with Beijing.