Putin In China: Xi Jinping Calls Russian Prez 'Great Friend', Vows To Rejuvenate China-Russia Ties (WATCH)

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday pledged to collaborate with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin
to "rejuvenate" their nations ties, affirming that China will "always be a good partner" to Russia, according to Chinese state media.

arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a two-day state visit, during which he will engage in extensive discussions with Xi on topics including Ukraine, Asia, energy
, and trade. Xi is considered Putin
's most powerful political ally and a fellow geopolitical adversary of the United States, and also welcomed the Russian president by addressing him as a 'good friend'.

"The China-Russia relationship today is hard-earned, and the two sides need to cherish and nurture it," Xi told Putin
as they met in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

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"China is willing to jointly achieve the development and rejuvenation of our respective countries, and work together to uphold fairness and justice in the world," the Chinese president added.

In February 2022, China and Russia announced a "no limits" partnership when Putin
visited Beijing, just days before he deployed tens of thousands of troops
into Ukraine, igniting the deadliest land conflict in Europe since World War Two.

By choosing China for his first foreign visit since being sworn in this month for a six-year term extending his rule until at least 2030, Putin
is signaling his priorities and underscoring the strength of his personal ties with Xi.

told Xi that their cooperation serves as a stabilizing factor.

"It is of crucial significance that relations between Russia and China are not opportunistic and are not directed against anyone," Russia's RIA Novosti news agency cited Putin
as saying.

Later describing their initial session as "warm and comradely," Putin
highlighted various sectors where the two nations are strengthening ties, including nuclear and energy
cooperation, food supplies, and Chinese car manufacturing in Russia.

The leaders formally signed a statement deepening their strategic relationship, with Xi asserting that both sides agreed a political settlement to the Ukraine crisis was the "right direction."

expressed gratitude to China for its efforts to resolve the crisis and mentioned that he would brief Xi on the situation in Ukraine, where Russian forces are advancing on several fronts.

In an interview with China's Xinhua news agency before his departure, Putin
praised Xi for fostering a partnership rooted in national interests and deep mutual trust.

"It was the unprecedentedly high level of the strategic partnership between our countries that determined my choice of China as the first state that I would visit after taking office as president," Putin

Informal discussions between the leaders and senior officials from both sides, scheduled over tea and dinner later on Thursday, are anticipated to be crucial to the two-day visit.

Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov stated that the talks would cover Ukraine, Asia, energy
, and trade.

's newly appointed Defense Minister
Andrei Belousov, Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov, Security Council Secretary Sergei Shoigu, and Ushakov will attend, along with Russia's most influential CEOs.

Celebrating 75 years of ties

, 71, and Xi, 70, will participate in a gala celebration commemorating 75 years since the Soviet Union recognized the People's Republic of China, declared by Mao Zedong in 1949.

The US regards China as its foremost competitor and Russia as its greatest nation-state threat, with President Joe Biden asserting that this century will be defined by an existential contest between democracies and autocracies.

and Xi share a broad worldview, perceiving the West as decadent and in decline, while China challenges US supremacy in areas ranging from quantum computing and synthetic biology to espionage and military power.

After meeting with Xi, Putin
stated they were working towards a multipolar world, free of closed alliances in Asia.

will also visit the northeastern city of Harbin, known for its historic ties to Russia. A mall featuring Russian-made goods from about 80 Russian manufacturers opened there on Thursday, according to the China Daily.

In recent years, China has strengthened its trade and military ties with Russia as the US and its allies have imposed sanctions on both nations, particularly on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

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Western governments
assert that China has played a critical role in helping Russia withstand these sanctions and has provided key technology used by Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine.

However, China, once the junior partner to Moscow in the global Communist hierarchy, is now by far the most powerful of Russia's global allies.

's visit comes shortly after a mission to Beijing late last month by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who partially aimed to warn China's top diplomat
Wang Yi against increasing military support for Russia.

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