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Xi misses dinner with Putin and allies out of fear over COVID, according to a source

According to the COVID-19 policy of his delegation, Chinese President Xi Jinping skipped a meal at a regional security forum that included 11 heads of state, an Uzbek government source told Reuters on Friday.

This week, Xi will be in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is jointly led by China and Russia since the start of the epidemic.

He was not present in the group photos of the leaders, including Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, that were released late on Thursday.According to a source in the Uzbek administration, the Chinese delegation gave its COVID-19 policy as the reason for Xi’s absence.

An inquiry for comment was sent to the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing, but no response was given right away.At the Communist Party meeting that starts next month, Xi, 69, is expected to win a historic third term as leader.