President Xi Jinping praises his 'best friend' Vladimir Putin over panda diplomacy

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Russian telecoms company MTS and Chinese Huawei also signed a memorandum of understanding, while Russia's Novatek and Gazprombank signed an agreement with Sinopec to market gas in China.

In an interview with Russian media published Wednesday, Xi said strong consumer demand is helping drive growth.

Mr Xi unveiled two panda bears at the Moscow Zoo which will remain a long-lasting reminder of the visit.

China and Russian Federation are making proactive efforts to bring their trade volume to a higher level and promote high-quality development in bilateral trade, he added.

They have also pledged to closely coordinate within such multilateral frameworks as the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Group of 20 to make the global system more fair, just and inclusive.

The relationship between the two nations "shines with new light each year", President Xi said after being met with full honours at Vnukovo airport in Moscow, adding that Mr Putin was his "closest friend and a good colleague".

The two countries have also been synergizing the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, and offered staunch support for each other on issues concerning their respective core interests.

Only by upholding equality and mutual respect can big nations develop sound bilateral relations, Li said, adding that the China-Russia relationship acts as a role model for the global community.

The two countries have overlapping development strategies, which allows them to work together on major projects, along the border regions and even across the whole Eurasia.

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Russian Federation may have had unrealistic expectations from its pivot to the east following Western sanctions over Ukraine, said Alexander Gabuev, who heads the Asia programme at the Carnegie Moscow Centre. The congregation of foreign leaders and investors is attended by high-ranking Kremlin officials including Mr Putin.

Beijing, meanwhile, is embroiled in a major trade war with Washington that includes a series of costly tit-for-tat tariffs.

Still, Russia needs China much more than the other way round, according to the analyst.

Xi will also attend the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and address its plenary session during the visit.

In 2018, Chinese tourists made 1.8 million trips to Russia while Russian travelers made almost 2 million trips to China.

Both countries are locked in economic battles with the United States.

China sees Russian Federation as a "large, friendly nuclear-armed neighbour" and as a key source of arms and energy, said Mr Alexander Gabuev, head of the Carnegie Moscow Centre's Russian Federation in the Asia-Pacific Programme.

Politically, the two countries seem consistently aligned and often vote in unison as permanent members of the UN Security Council.