Russia, Putin, Xi Jinping discussed on Morning Edition


Nina told Ruth Bader Ginsburg chatted and dined? We'll find out what was on the culinary and intellectual menus, and it's a rare chance for you to call in and ask Nina totenberg a question. Also why New Jersey might bring back paper shopping bags. The Brian ler show at 10 a.m. on WNYC. It's morning edition from NPR news. I'm Steve inskeep. And I'm Rachel Martin good morning. There are some relationships that are so important, so consequential that even the suggestion that the two people are going to meet face to face is enough to get people talking. That is the case with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. The leaders of Russia and China will gather along with other heads of state in the city of Samarkand and Uzbekistan. Russia's war in Ukraine will of course be on their agenda. We've got NPR Russia correspondent Charles means with us from Moscow. Hey, Charles. Good morning. All right, so set this up for us. The summit is about more than just security and trade. And it's not just about she and Putin is it. Yeah, you know, the slogan going into the summit has been the world is coming to Samarkand. And you know, it's almost true. You've got the leaders of 15 countries that represent over 3 billion people globally gathering in this fabled Silk Road city. Security as you might imagine is very tight. You can now only get into the city by train and you need a special QR code. Now this is an annual event, but it's the first time participants have met in person since the pandemic, and for some like Vladimir Putin, it's a rare venture outside of Russia. Well, for Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, this trip is the first time he's actually traveled anywhere outside his country since the pandemic began three years ago. Okay, so this is a big deal that Putin and sheer even getting outside of their home countries. They must be highly motivated. What are they going to be talking about and what are the consequences of this meeting? Sure. Yeah, the two leaders are expected to hold bilateral talks later today, the Kremlin says they'll focus heavily on Russia's ongoing military campaign in Ukraine. Now ahead of the trip, Putin's foreign policy adviser praised what he called the special significance of the meeting, the last time these two leaders met, they pledged their friendship had quote no limits, Russia likes to say that China has a well balanced approach to Ukraine. Meaning Beijing is not critical of the Kremlin's actions. It supports Moscow's wider argument that NATO expansion in Europe really provoked this whole Ukraine crisis. In fact, just last week, a top Chinese official was in Russia and offered vocal support for the military campaign. But he's made clear this isn't China's fight. You know, he hasn't provided weapons to Moscow. And he certainly hasn't been willing to risk western sanctions, even as China's plucked up discounted oil and trade deals from Russia, which needs to pivot its economy towards Asia, particularly as Europe wins itself from Russian energy. But all this is happening amidst the background of some Ukrainian winds in the war. So Putin's had a couple of setbacks. What impact might that have on these conversations? Well, Putin still hasn't publicly commented on the recent Ukrainian counter offensive. His spokesman insists the military campaign will continue until Russia reaches its objectives. So they're protecting an image of normalcy, at least at home. Xi Jinping certainly is aware of what's going on and he'll be weighing to what degree Russia could become a drain on China, either politically or economically, the hard truth here is that Russia needs China these days much more than the other way around. So Putin will probably be looking for signs that China support won't waiver given Russia's recent setbacks. Right, China and Russia, that's the main show. Any subplots though to look out for. There are so many subplots. There's Central Asia, former Soviet republics like Kazakhstan in particular are increasingly nervous about Russian expansion. They're looking to China as a regional counterweight. And they'll be gauging the Putin exchange very carefully. There's also kind of a den of rivals aspect to all this. The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will be there, even as their countries are fighting over a disputed enclave, Kyrgyzstan and Turkish Turkmenistan just started shooting at each other over a border dispute they have, then there's India and Pakistan with their long rivalry and it goes on. So in that sense, the host, the U specs, they'll have a joint statement signing at the end, but they'll certainly have to swing wide if they want to find issues everyone can agree on. And Paris Charles maines, thank you. Thank you. This is a really important day for negotiators for freight railroads and their workers. A strike deadline is midnight tonight. Some freight shipments are already affected and as of today, some passenger services too. If the railroads really stop, there will be a lot more disruption. We're going to talk about it all with NPR transportation correspondent, David shape, or hey, David. Good morning. So a lot of us may not even realize that the stuff currently in our House came to us by train, right? So what could be affected here? Yeah, at least part of the way, you know, all kinds of manufacturers, suppliers, retailers have been dealing with supply chain problems for a couple of years now due to the pandemic. This is just one more huge snarl one big headache. They don't need right now. So many things that we need and use are shipped at least part of the way to us by rail, cars, and car parts and the oil and gas we use to fuel them, lumber, building material, shoes, clothing, applied to TVs, and you know, this is stock up time for retailers ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. So this is this could be really devastating for the nation's economy. The association of American railroads pins it at about $2 billion a day if there's a strike. Wow. And how might a possible strike affect passenger service? Well, already Amtrak

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