Mr. Xi refused the reception without a mask

Xi met 12 leaders during the three days of his first overseas trip after the outbreak of Covid-19, but refused to attend the reception without a mask.

On his first trip in nearly 1,000 days, Chinese President Xi Jinping joined a series of meetings aimed at forging alliances on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, which took place in the city. Samarkand of Uzbekistan on September 16.

Xi held talks with the presidents of Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Xi also held joint talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh on September 16.

However, the Chinese President did not appear in the photo of the leaders of the SCO member countries at the reception on September 15. An Uzbekistani government source said the Chinese delegation explained that Xi did not attend the reception due to the country’s Covid-19 prevention policy.





Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting of leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization members in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16.  Photo: Reuters.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting of leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization members in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16. Image: Reuters.

China continues to implement the “No Covid” policy, promulgating a blockade order to prevent the spread of the disease, banning gatherings, eating and drinking, and tightening travel abroad.

High-ranking Chinese officials such as Foreign Minister Wang Yi wear masks at most diplomatic events, actions that are considered to set an example for the people.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also wears a mask in most meetings with SCO member leaders, except for private meetings with the presidents of Russia, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. Xi also did not wear a mask during the SCO joint meeting.

It is not clear whether Mr. Xi will hold face-to-face talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr. Modi did not attend the SCO reception due to his late arrival in Uzbekistan.

The SCO summit was the first event that Mr. Xi and Mr. Modi attended after the deadly clash between Indian and Chinese troops in mid-2020.

SCO was established in 2001, is an Eurasian security group consisting of 9 members: China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia are observers, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan attend as guests or dialogue partners.

Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were added to the list of dialogue partners by the SCO during this conference. The 22nd SCO Summit in Uzbekistan is also the first time the leaders of the member countries have met after Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine.

Nguyen Tien (Theo SCMP)

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