Putin arrives in China for state visit as two nations seek deeper cooperation

Beijing [China] (ANI): Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in China for a two-day state on Thursday morning, in the latest sign of the deepening relations between Moscow and Beijing in the face of heavy friction with the West, CNN reported.    
The visit is Putin's symbolic first overseas foray since entering a new term as Russia's president last week.    
This is the also latest sign of the deepening relations between Beijing and Moscow in the face of heavy friction with the West.    
Putin landed in the Chinese capital hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he would halt all upcoming international visits, as his troops defend against Russia's advances in his country's north-eastern Kharkiv region.    
According to CNN, the Russia-Ukraine conflict as well as the war in Gaza, are expected to feature in Xi and Putin's meetings, alongside discussions on their expanding trade, security, and energy ties.    
Ahead of the trip, Putin hailed the "unprecedented level of strategic partnership" between the countries in an interview with Chinese state media Xinhua.    
He said the leaders aimed to "strengthen foreign policy coordination" and deepen cooperation in "industry and high-tech, outer space and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and other innovative sectors."    
Putin also praised China's "approaches to resolving the crisis in Ukraine."    
Notably, Beijing has never condemned Russia's invasion, rather it claims 'neutrality' in the conflict and has called for peace talks that take both sides' positions into account.    
The two leaders have continued to strengthen their countries' diplomatic, trade, and security ties since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.    
As many countries introduced sanctions aimed at draining Russia's war coffers, the trade between Moscow and Beijing has surged in the wake of the war, hitting record levels last year.    
This is the fourth in-person meeting between Xi and Putin since the invasion and Putin's second visit to Beijing in that time. Xi also visited Moscow in 2023 after entering his new term as China's president, CNN reported.    
The two leaders are expected to sign a number of bilateral agreements, the Kremlin said Tuesday. They are also expected to celebrate 75 years of their diplomatic relations at a "gala event", as described by Chinese state media.    
Besides meeting with Xi in Beijing, Putin is also expected to visit Harbin, the capital of China's north-eastern Heilongjiang province bordering Russia's Far East, where he will attend trade and cooperation forums. (ANI)