Xi to attend summit in Uzbekistan with possible Putin meeting

The Chinese foreign ministry announced on Monday that President Xi Jinping will attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan this week.

Xi is scheduled to visit the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan from Wednesday to Friday.

This will be Xi's first trip outside China since he visited Myanmar in January 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a security and economic cooperation framework led by China and Russia. The summit will be held on Thursday and Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he would hold face-to-face talks with Xi on the sidelines of the summit.

In early February, Xi and Putin held talks in Beijing when Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games there.

The two leaders have held phone talks twice since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The focus of their upcoming talks would be how Xi expresses his stance on Russia, ahead of the Chinese Communist Party's National Congress scheduled for next month.

Xi is expected to seek an unusual third term as party leader at the Congress.