Russian President Vladimir Putin has greeted Chinese leader Xi Jinping in the Kremlin in a choreographed ceremony. It was seen as underlining a message to Washington that Russia – which is the world’s largest energy producer – and its biggest consumer, China want to strengthen their financial and political relationship.
Before Xi arrived in the capital Russian and Chinese companies had already agreed a 1.5 billion euro deal to develop coal resources in eastern Siberia. It is expected the meeting will be crowned with deals that will make Beijing Russia’s top customer for oil.
“Immediately after coming to power and taking on the duties of head of state I have arrived here in Russia on an official visit. I am continuing the commitment and our tradition of always making the first official visit to our friends. It should show the high level and special character of the Chinese-Russian partnership in all areas and strategic cooperation,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Russian President Vladimir Putin replied: “I have known the Chinese president for a long time and we have had a very warm relationship during the last few years. Now Xi visits Russia for the first time as the leader of his state and it is his first foreign trip since becoming president. We are highly appreciative of this symbolic gesture.”
Bilateral trade between the two countries is booming and reached a record high 68 billion euros last year. Xi’s visit overshadowed a meeting between the leaders of the Russian government and the European Union in Moscow.