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New China president arrives in Moscow

QuestCinq.com/News/3/22/13

-China’s new president Xi Jinping has arrived in Moscow on his first foreign trip to cement ties between the two
countries.

Xi, accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan, arrived on Friday for a three-day visit that will see him signing a raft of energy and investment accords with Russia.

A key deal is expected to be signed between Xi and his counterpart Vladimir Putin, paving the way for Moscow to ramp up oil supplies to China, the world’s biggest energy consumer.

Russia, the world’s largest energy producer, and China, its most voracious consumer, want to bolster their common clout as a financial and geopolitical counterweight to Europe and the US, whose “Asia pivot” regional strategy has caused concern in China.

Al Jazeera’s Robin Forestier-Walker, reporting from Moscow, said the two countries are “strategic partners” and that as UN Security Council members, they have worked together on issues like the Syrian conflict and North Korea’s missile programme. 

Shared ideology

Xi highlighted the importance of his country’s relationship with Russia, which is rooted in shared communist ideology.

“China and Russia are the main and most important strategic partners,” Xi said in an interview with Russian media.

“In many ways we speak a common language,” he said on the eve of his Moscow trip

Xi’s first overseas trip will also take him to Africa to shore up his resource-hungry country’s soaring influence on the continent with visits to Tanzania, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Joseph Cheng, a Chinese University of Hong Kong professor, told Al Jazeera Russia was a good source of advanced weaponry for China.

“Certainly Russia is important to China as a source of advanced weapons, important raw materials, and there is a lot of room for further improvement in trade and investment activities in view of the economic difficulties in the US and western Europe,” he said. 

In an interview released by the Kremlin hours before Xi’s planned arrival, Putin said bilateral trade had more than
doubled in five years and reached $87.5bn in 2012.

Putin and Xi, less than a year apart in age, echoed one another in interviews before the visit, each saying the Chinese leader’s choice of Moscow as his first destination was evidence of the “strategic partnership” between the nations.

Source: Aljazeera and Agencies

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