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China's Xi in Russia to usher 'new era' of cooperation

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Moscow: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia yesterday for talks he said would boost strategic cooperation, as Beijing and Moscow continue to spar with the US.
The leader was received with full honours at Moscow's Vnukovo airport in the early afternoon ahead of a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.

Xi said the visit would "serve as an incentive for the development of Chinese-Russian relations, comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction in a new era," according to Russian news agencies.

"I am certain this visit will yield fruitful results," he said.

The trip comes five years after Moscow's annexation of Crimea led to a serious rift with its Western partners and subsequent turn toward its neighbour to the east. After watching a performance at the Bolshoi Theatre yesterday evening, Xi is set to travel to Russia's former imperial capital Saint Petersburg.

There he will attend an economic forum hosted by Putin on Thursday and Friday. China and Russia "have strong political mutual trust, and support each other firmly on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns," Xi said during an interview with Russian media ahead of the visit.

Putin's foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said the visit was "a crucial event for our bilateral relations". The Soviet Union was the first country to recognise Communist-ruled China in 1949, he noted.

Ushakov said Xi and Putin would sign a new declaration on "global partnership and strategic cooperation, which are entering a new era".

The Chinese delegation is bringing two pandas as gifts, which are bound for the Moscow Zoo. "The animal is a symbol of China and the gesture is very important to our partners," Ushakov said.

The partnership is yielding increasing trade, which has increased by 25 percent in 2018 to hit a record $108 billion, he added, calling China "Russia's most important economic partner".

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui praised the upcoming visit as having a "milestone significance in the development of bilateral relations".

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