Xi, Putin meet on sidelines of regional summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met on the sidelines of a regional summit.

It was their first face-to-face meeting since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February.

At the beginning of the talks, Putin said, "Russia greatly appreciates China's balanced position on the Ukraine crisis."

Xi told Putin, "In the face of drastic changes in the world, and in history, China will work with Russia to exert leadership as a fellow major power."

Putin said Russia firmly supports Beijing's "One-China" policy. He accused the United States and its allies of taking provocative actions in the Taiwan Strait.

Xi and Putin are attending a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The meeting started on Thursday in Uzbekistan.

This comes as Russian forces continue to suffer setbacks in Ukraine, and Western countries step up sanctions.

It is Xi's first international trip in more than two and a half years. He is preparing for next month's Communist Party National Congress, where he is expected to seek an unprecedented third term as party leader.

Eight nations are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, including India and Pakistan.

Iran is an observer. It is expected to become a full member at the summit.

Last month, one of Putin's closest aides said Russia wants countries in the group to be on the same side, in what he called "the global confrontation."

But some former Soviet republics are keeping their distance from Russia because of the invasion.