Chinese President Xi Jinping called Friday on members of a central Asian regional grouping, which includes Russia and Iran, to work together to prevent “external forces” from promoting what he called "color revolutions" — popular, pro-democracy uprisings in their countries.
Xi made the comments in Uzbekistan on the second day of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security group led by China and Russia.
In his speech, Xi said members should support efforts each country has made to safeguard its own security and development interests and work to prevent outsiders from instigating a color revolution.
Xi offered to train 2,000 police officers to set up a regional counterterrorism training center and to “strengthen law enforcement capacity building” among member nations.
Observers believe Xi was referencing Western efforts to promote pro-democracy movements that have toppled other authoritarian regimes over the years.
The SCO is made up of permanent members China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was established in 2001 as a political, economic and security organization to counter Western institutions.
The summit was also Xi’s first overseas trip since the COVID-19 pandemic and his first in-person meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in February, days before Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine.
The two leaders met Thursday on the sidelines of the summit and pledged support for one another. Putin assailed what he characterized as the American-dominated “unipolar” world that he sees Russia and China jointly aligned against. Xi told Putin that China is willing to work with Russia to “demonstrate the responsibility of a major country” and “inject stability into a turbulent world.”
In comments to VOA, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the partnership between Russia and China is based on mutual convenience.
He said, “These two countries are not, like, best of friends. I mean, they have a relationship, obviously, but it is not built on a whole heck of a lot of mutual trust and confidence.” Kirby said the U.S. is going to continue to keep lines of communication open with China.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.