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Xi welcomes Putin to China as the two leaders seek to strengthen ties

Chinese leader Xi Jinping welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to Beijing on May 16, 2024, as the two countries seek to strengthen their strategic relations. Here we see an archive photo of the two men during their meeting in Beijing on October 18, 2023.

Sergei Guneyev | Afp | Getty Images

Chinese leader Xi Jinping hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Thursday, as the two countries seek to strengthen their strategic relations.

Putin’s two-day state visit to China comes at the invitation of Xi and will be the Russian leader’s first foreign trip since beginning his fifth term last week.

The two countries have touted their “limitless” friendship since February 2022, to counter the global influence of the United States.

China has increasingly become Russia’s lifeline to support its war chest since the invasion of Ukraine, as Washington continues to tighten the screws on Moscow with new sanctions.

In an interview with state media Xinhua published before the visit, Putin said the volume of trade between the two countries reached $227.8 billion last year, up from $111 billion in 2019.

“The current bilateral trade volume is around 20 trillion rubles, or nearly 1.6 trillion yuan,” he noted. That’s about $219.6 billion.

The two countries aim to deepen cooperation in “high technologies, outer space and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, artificial intelligence and renewable energy,” among other sectors, Putin added.

Xi welcomes Putin to China as the two leaders seek to strengthen strategic ties

China’s close collaboration with Russia is a thorny issue for the United States, with Washington warning Beijing to reduce its military aid to Moscow’s war against Ukraine.

On the trade front, US President Joe Biden this week announced new, tougher tariff rates on $18 billion of Chinese imports to protect US industries from what Washington called “unfair trade practices.” from China.

Growing economic and diplomatic pressure from the United States and its allies could bring China closer to Russia, observers said.

Putin is expected to meet Chinese Premier Li Qiang and travel to the northeastern city of Harbin for a trade and investment exhibition, according to Russian state media.

This is breaking news. Please check again for updates.

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