onsdag 3. juli 2024

A growing club led by Xi and Putin to counter the US is adding a staunchly pro-Russia member

A club of Eurasian countries spearheaded by China and Russia to advance their leaders’ vision of an alternative world order is set to expand again this week – this time adding a staunch Russian ally that has openly supported Moscow’s war on Ukraine. The expected admission of Belarus to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at its annual leaders’ summit in Astana, Kazakhstan is another push by Beijing and Moscow to transform the grouping – from a regional security bloc into a geopolitical counterweight to Western institutions led by the United States and its allies.

Belarus, which helped Russia to launch its 2022 invasion of Ukraine, will become the latest authoritarian state to join the club, after Iran became a full member last year.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have arrived in Astana for the summit that begins Wednesday, in what will be their second meetingthis year. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the world’s largest democracy, is skipping the event, pointing to unease among some members about the direction the SCO is headed.