SAMARKAND: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday warned his Central Asian neighbors not to allow foreigners to destabilize them with “color revolutions” and proposed setting up a regional counterterrorism training center.
Xi’s comments during a security summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders from Central Asia, India and Iran reflect official Chinese concern that Western support for pro-democracy activists and of human rights is a plot to undermine Xi’s ruling Communist Party and other authoritarian governments.
“We must prevent external forces from inciting a color revolution,” Xi said in a speech to leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organizationreferring to protests that toppled unpopular regimes in the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.
Xi proposed training 2,000 police officers, establishing a regional counter-terrorism training center and “enhancing law enforcement capacity building.” He gave no details.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was formed by Russia and China to counterbalance American influence. The summit is part of Xi’s first overseas trip since shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began two and a half years ago, underscoring the importance of Beijing asserting itself as a regional leader.
The group also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran is an observer and has applied to become a full member.
The one-day summit in the ancient city of Samarkand took place against the backdrop of Russia’s attack on Ukraine and fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a ‘dialogue partner’ of the group, attended the summit and planned to speak with Cheese fries on the progress of an agreement under which wheat exports from Ukraine via the Black Sea have resumed.
Xi is promoting a “Global Security Initiative” announced in April following the formation of the Quad by the United States, Japan, Australia and India in response to Beijing’s more assertive foreign policy. Xi gave few details, but US officials complain that this echoes Russian arguments in support of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.
China’s relations with Washington, Europe, Japan and India have been strained by disputes over technology, security, human rights and territory.
Central Asia is part of China’s multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative to expand trade by building ports, railways and other infrastructure in an arc of dozens of countries from the South Pacific to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
On Thursday, Putin spoke one-on-one with Xi and thanked the Chinese leader for his government’s “balanced stance” on the war in Ukraine. Putin said he was ready to discuss China’s unspecified “concerns” about Ukraine.
Xi, in a statement released by his government, expressed support for Russia’s “core interests” but also his interest in working together to “inject stability” into world affairs.
The Xi-Putin meeting “clearly shows that the partnership between China and Russia does indeed have limits,” Eurasia Group analysts said in a report.
Xi’s government, which said it had an “unlimited” friendship with Moscow before the attack on Ukraine, refused to criticize Russia. Beijing and India are buying more Russian oil and gas, helping Moscow offset Western sanctions.
“China never approved of the Russian invasion” but pledged to “deepen strategic ties with Moscow as a counterweight to Western influence,” they said.
China wants a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine, said Li Xin, director of the Institute of European and Asian Studies at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.
“China will not judge whether Russia’s special military operation is right or not,” Li said.

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