President Xi Jinping praises his 'best friend' Vladimir Putin over panda diplomacy

President Xi Jinping praises his 'best friend' Vladimir Putin over panda diplomacy

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.

The pandas, who could be seen chomping bamboo as Xi and Putin arrived, will living in a specially built enclosure.

The trip comes five years after Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula led to a serious rift with its Western partners and subsequent turn toward its neighbour to the east.

According to Kremlin data, Russia-China trade increased 25 percent in 2018, reaching a record $108 billion.

There he will attend an economic forum hosted by Putin on Thursday and Friday.

Late on June 5, the two leaders attended a gala concert at the famed Bolshoi Theater, marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Moscow and Beijing.

Mr Putin's foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said the visit was "a crucial event for our bilateral relations".

Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui said China and Russia advocate the building of a new type of worldwide relations featuring win-win cooperation, resolutely upholding the global system with the United Nations at the core, and calling for peaceful means to resolve worldwide and regional hot-spot issues.

Two-way trade between China and Russian Federation hit a record high of over $100 billion a year ago.

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"Despite all the difficulties, China became a significant creditor and rather significant investor" in Russian Federation at a time when many other investors preferred to pack their bags.

Nevertheless, China's share in Russian foreign trade has almost doubled since then, he added.

In a show of those deepening ties, Mr Xi will be the guest of honour tomorrow on the opening day of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russia's flagship economic conference.

He said that Russian Federation and China, as UN Security Council members, are determined to protect the global system centered on the United Nations.

The economic penalties, which the West has redoubled, forced the Kremlin to seek out new partners to fill the shortfall in foreign money coming from Europe and the United States. The trip marked Xi's eighth visit to Russian Federation since he took the helm in 2012.

Putin and Xi were meeting in Moscow as world leaders gathered on the south coast of England to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The trip to Moscow highlights Beijing's efforts to drum up support both at home and overseas as the President Donald Trump's administration pushes China to do more to redress a huge perennial trade surplus and end policies that USA and other foreign companies and governments say violate Beijing's market-opening commitments.

His remark is seen as implicit criticism of the U.S. as Beijing and Washington are sharply divided on trade issues.

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