MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Monday, Xi arrived in Moscow for a two-day visit at the invitation of Putin. Later in the day, the two leaders held an informal meeting in the Kremlin. On Tuesday, the two leaders are expected to discuss strategic cooperation between the two nations, as well as international agenda items.
"Russia became the destination for my first foreign visit in March 2013, right after my election as China's president… According to my estimates, since then we have met with you 22 times. Therefore, Russia became the most visited country for me, and compared with foreign leaders my contacts and ties with you are the closest ones," Xi said at the talks.
China and Russia have agreed that their bilateral relations will not be affected by foreign policy changes, Xi said at a ceremony awarding him Russia's highest order given for outstanding service to the state on Tuesday.
"President [Vladimir] Putin and I agreed unanimously that no matter how the external situation changes, Chinese-Russian relations are not always susceptible to influence."
Xi said that Beijing and Moscow "are committed to developing mutual support and all-around cooperation… to achieve greater real results."
"Currently the international landscape is going through difficult transformations. We face new opportunities and challenges. In these new conditions I think we should make joint efforts to master and strengthen relations," Xi said.
"We agreed upon many issues. Looking back at what was achieved, since the start of the year [Putin] and me have had close contacts … I think that our intense contacts would boost the development of Chinese-Russian comprehensive partnership and top-level cooperation," the Chinese leader noted.
Putin said that during their meeting he and Xi managed to cover all the aspects of bilateral cooperation, including international issues, economy, military and humanitarian issues.
The ongoing visit is Xi's sixth trip to Russia during his presidential tenure.
Moscow and Beijing cooperate in a number of areas, including energy, infrastructure and the military.