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Asia Minute: A Different Summit in Asia

President of Russia

Much of the world’s attention has been focused on the Singapore meeting between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. But another summit meeting in Asia has also produced a series of regional headlines.

Sometime before the most awkward phase of the G-7 meeting in Canada, China’s President Xi Jinping called Russian leader Vladimir Putin his “best, most intimate friend.”

On Friday, the Chinese president draped a large golden “Medal of Friendship” around Putin’s neck, and the whole event was carried live on state television in China. The two leaders also announced more than 3-billion dollars of nuclear deals, and promised further diplomatic cooperation.

The two leaders met just before the weekend gathering of the “Shanghai Cooperation Organization” in the northern Chinese city of Qingdao. For the past 17 years, that’s been half a dozen countries — led by China and Russia, and including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

But this year the group has risen to a new level because of its two newest members: India and Pakistan.

Credit Narendra Modi / Flickr

President Xi said welcoming the two countries at the same time was a matter “of great historic significance,” and Chinese officials suggested the group could present a “better platform” for India and Pakistan to resolve their differences.

Chinese media underlined the differences in tone and appearance between this group and the G-7 meeting.

Xi made no reference to Donald Trump in his closing news conference, but he did say, “We point out that economic globalization and regional integration are the compelling trend of our times.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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