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- Trips by the pope and Chinese President Xi Jinping to Kazakhstan overlapped, but the men weren’t expected to meet. Xi met separately with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week in Uzbekistan.
Did Pope Francis, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin all recently meet with each other to plan geopolitical moves?
That’s what a recent social media post claims, but it conflates news reports and reaches an erroneous conclusion.
"Breaking!!!!," reads the description of a Sept. 13 video posted on Facebook. "The pope, Xi and Putin all meet to plan world events!!!"
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
In the video, a man says that the pope "is now meeting in Kazakhstan, and guess who’s also in Kazakhstan? Well, the premier, Mr. Xi of China, and Vladimir Putin, all meeting at the same time at this crux of the war in Ukraine. So isn’t that interesting? It’s not just the pope in Kazakhstan today, as we speak, it’s also Xi and Putin."
It’s true that the pope and Xi were both in Kazakhstan on Sept. 14 — their separate state visits to the country overlapped — but the Associated Press reported there was no indication they would meet.
The Vatican also said there are no plans for them to come face to face. During his flight to Kazakhstan, the pope said about a possible meeting with Xi, "I don’t have any news about this. But I am always ready to go to China."
The pope was also in Kazakhstan to attend an interfaith congress of world leaders that aimed to spur interreligious dialogue. The pope had hoped to meet Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church during his Kazakhstan trip to secure an invitation through him to visit Russia, the French news outlet Le Monde reported. But Kirill didn’t attend the religious congress.
Xi’s trip to Kazakhstan was his first outside of China since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, and he said through a translator that he chose Kazakhstan to demonstrate the "deep friendship" between the two countries.
Putin is not in Kazakhstan, though he and Xi met in Uzbekistan on Thursday.
We rate claims that the pope, Putin and Xi are meeting to "plan world events" False.
Facebook post, Sept. 13, 2022
The Washington Post, China’s Xi visits Central Asia ahead of expected meeting with Putin, Sept. 14, 2022
The Associated Press, China’s Xi visits Kazakhstan ahead of summit with Putin, Sept. 14, 2022
The Associated Press, Q&A: Pope, Chinese leader Xi to cross paths in Kazakhstan, Sept. 14, 2022
Le Monde, Pope Francis caught between Russia and China in Kazakhstan test of diplomacy, Sept. 14, 2022
CNN, Xi Jinping arrives in Central Asia in first trip outside China since pandemic, Sept. 14, 2022
Vatican News, Kazakhstan Congress: Interfaith leaders encourage initiatives for a better world, Setp. 15, 2022
New York Times, Putin alludes to China's 'concerns' as Xi stays quiet on the war, Sept. 15, 2022
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