MOSCOW • Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow yesterday to attend his third meeting this year with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During his two-day visit, Mr Xi will sign a series of cooperation agreements in such fields as trade, economy, investment, connectivity, media and education, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai said.
Russian media network RT reported that the leaders will sign deals worth US$10 billion (S$14 billion) during what has been described by Mr Putin as "a major event in bilateral relations".
The latest visit marks Mr Xi's sixth trip to Russia since he took over the Chinese presidency in 2013. He and Mr Putin have met 22 times.
The closer-than-ever relationship between Mr Xi and Mr Putin has become a "locomotive" for cementing their countries' comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, said a senior researcher on Eurasian studies at the China Institute of International Studies Chen Yurong.
Last year, the two countries managed to reverse the declining trend in bilateral trade, bringing up the volume by 2.2 per cent to US$69.5 billion. In the first five months this year, two-way trade totalled US$32.4 billion, up 26 per cent from the same period last year.
China has been Russia's largest trading partner for years, and Russia is China's major source of cutting-edge machinery and other high-tech imports.
I will start a state visit to Russia at the invitation of President (Vladimir) Putin. I believe the visit will inject new impetus to the development of China-Russia relations.
CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING, in an interview with Russian media ahead of his arrival in Moscow.
The two countries are also committed to synergising the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with the development plans of the Eurasian Economic Union, which groups together Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
In an apparent gesture of support for the Chinese initiative, Mr Putin travelled to Beijing in May to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
The flourishing and everlasting friendship between Beijing and Moscow also contributes to regional and global peace and prosperity, said Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui. China-Russia coordination, he added, has played an important role in pushing for a peaceful settlement of the Korean peninsula nuclear issue and the Syrian issue.
In an interview with Russian media ahead of his arrival in Moscow yesterday, Mr Xi said that China- Russia relations are at their "best time in history", and that the two nations are each other's most trustworthy strategic partners.
"President (Vladimir) Putin and I have built good working relations and a close personal friendship," Mr Xi said. "I will start a state visit to Russia at the invitation of President Putin. I believe the visit will inject new impetus to the development of China-Russia relations."
From Moscow, Mr Xi will fly to Germany for a state visit, and to attend the upcoming Group of 20 summit of the world's major economies.