China president makes Russia first foreign stop
BEIJING (AFP) - China's Xi Jinping heads to Russia this week for his first diplomatic foray as president, reinforcing a relationship with Cold War roots which is now finding shared strategic and business interests.
Mr Xi, whose ascension last week completed China's power handover after he took the reins of the Communist Party in November, visits Moscow from Friday for talks with President Vladimir Putin.
The two countries enjoy expanding commercial relations - China is the world's biggest energy consumer and the largest trade partner of Russia, one of the planet's biggest oil producers.
They cooperate on several issues at the United Nations and in advance of his trip, Mr Xi called Russia "our friendly neighbour", adding his visit underscored the "great importance" China placed on relations.