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Russia Putin Meets With New Chinese Leader

  • RFE/RL

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin walk through the St. George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace on March 22.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin walk through the St. George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace on March 22.

Russian President Vladimir has held his first meeting with new Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is in Moscow on an official visit.

The two leaders emphasized the importance of their countries' ties in terms of bilateral trade and their influence on world affairs, as Putin noted in comments to reporters.

"Russian-Chinese relations are a crucial factor of international politics. Our trade is growing, both countries are involved in large humanitarian projects, and all of that serves the interests of the Chinese and Russian people," Putin said.

Ahead of the meeting, Xi was widely quoted as saying his choice of Russia for his first foreign visit as China’s president was "testimony to the great importance China places on its relations with Russia."

After Xi's arrival at the Kremlin, Putin said the Chinese president’s visit gives "new impetus" to Sino-Russian relations that are already enjoying one of their best periods ever.

On the sidelines of the two leaders' meeting, Russia's state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant and China's CNPC signed a memorandum on building a new gas pipeline to China. The deal has been held up for years because of pricing disputes.

Gazprom's CEO Aleksei Miller said the two companies agreed to sign a contract by the year's end for annual deliveries of 38 billion cubic meters of gas starting in 2018, with the option of eventually increasing the volume to 60 billion cubic meters. He would not say whether they have agreed on a pricing formula.

CNPC also signed an agreement with Russia's state-contolled Rosneft, the world's largest oil-producing company, for crude exports to China.

Putin and Xi are due to meet again for a summit in Durban, South Africa next week of the BRICS group of nations, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, AP, and Reuters
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