Putin, Xi seek to deepen ties at Beijing summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have confirmed the importance of bilateral cooperation at their summit in Beijing.

The Russian leader arrived in Beijing early Thursday morning for a two-day state visit to China. This is Putin's first foreign visit since he started his fifth term in office on May 7.

Chinese media reported that Xi congratulated Putin on his fifth term when they met on Thursday afternoon. Xi said Russia will surely make new and greater progress in national development under Putin's leadership.

Xi was quoted as telling Putin that the two leaders have met more than 40 times over the years and stayed in close communication. He suggested that Beijing will further strengthen its cooperation with Moscow.

Reports quoted Xi as saying that steady development of bilateral relations is not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries, but is also conducive to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world.

Putin reportedly responded that Russia and China have built a relationship of pragmatic cooperation.

Russian media reported Putin's remark that Russia-China cooperation serves as one of the main stabilizing factors in the international arena. He stressed the importance of bilateral relations in economic and other fields.

Observers say the two leaders intend to strengthen their personal relationship of trust and reconfirm their countries' unity with the apparent aim of keeping in check the United States and European countries.