ISOLATED tyrants Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are about to reunite at a ‘dictators’ club’ meeting as they seek to dominate the West.
The two presidents will come face to face on Wednesday just a week after their nations staged massive war games together – as Xi travels abroad for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic.
China sent thousands of troops to Russia for military exercises earlier this month involving 60 warships and 140 aircraft as the countries strengthen defense ties.
And following the Beijing summit in February, the two countries declared “boundless friendship” with no “no-go zones” for cooperation.
Now Putin and Xi are due to meet on Wednesday at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan.
The meeting will give Xi a chance to underscore his influence while Putin can demonstrate Russia’s tilt towards Asia.
Both leaders are expected to show their opposition to the United States just as the West seeks to punish Russia for the war in Ukraine.
In another move meant to inflame the West, the group has granted membership to Iran – considered a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States.
The club already includes India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
George Magnus, author of ‘Red Flags’, a book about Xi’s challenges, said: “It’s all about Xi in my opinion: he wants to show how confident he is nationally and be seen as the leader. of nations opposed to Western hegemony.
“Privately, I imagine Xi will be very anxious to know how Putin’s war unfolds and even if Putin or Russia are in play at some point in the near future, because China still needs direction. anti-Western movement in Moscow.”
After the West imposed the toughest sanctions in modern history on Moscow over the war in Ukraine, Putin says Russia is turning to Asia after centuries of viewing the West as the crucible of economic growth, technology and war.
There is no indication that Xi is ready to drop his support for Putin in Russia’s most serious confrontation with the West since the height of the Cold War.
Instead, the two 69-year-old leaders are deepening their bond. Trade soared by nearly a third between Russia and China in the first 7 months of 2022.
The visit “shows that China is ready not only to continue ‘business as usual’ with Russia, but also to show explicit support and accelerate the formation of a stronger Sino-Russian alignment,” an expert said.
Alexander Korolev, senior lecturer in politics and international relations at UNSW Sydney, said: “Beijing is reluctant to distance itself from Moscow, even in the face of serious reputational costs and risks of becoming the target of secondary economic sanctions.”
Xi last met Putin in February, just weeks before the Russian president ordered an invasion of Ukraine that left tens of thousands dead and wreaked havoc on the global economy.
It comes amid fears that Russia’s growing ties with states such as North Korea, Iran and China are evidence of a new axis of evil.
Under Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Putin, Beijing and Moscow have become increasingly close.
A year ago, Russia and China held joint military exercises in north-central China involving more than 10,000 troops.
In October, Russia and China held joint naval exercises in the Sea of Japan.
A few days later, Russian and Chinese warships staged their first joint patrols in the Western Pacific.
Shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine, Beijing and Moscow announced their “limitless” partnership.
It comes as Putin is also closing in on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Putin wrote to the tyrant to form a pact to unite the pariah nations against the “hostile” West.
The concerning kinship has stoked fear among security agencies who fear their alliance could have dire consequences.