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Putin Touts Economic Ties on Final Day of China Trip

Putin attends an exhibition as part of the 8th China-Russia Expo. Sergei Bobylev, TASS / kremlin.ru

President Vladimir Putin traveled to the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin on Friday, the final day of his brief trip, where he sought to promote crucial trade with China and win greater support for Russia's war on Ukraine.

The Russian leader arrived in China on Thursday, his first trip abroad since being re-elected in March, meeting with his counterpart Xi Jinping for talks in which the two heads of state framed their nations' ties as a stabilizing force in a chaotic world.

China and Russia's strategic partnership has only grown closer since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago, and Beijing has rebuffed Western claims that it is aiding Moscow's war effort.

China has also offered a critical lifeline to Russia's isolated economy, with trade booming since the invasion and hitting $240 billion in 2023, according to Chinese customs figures.

Putin's trip to Harbin is part of efforts to enhance that economic relationship. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a Russia-China trade expo on Friday, Putin hailed energy ties between the two countries and promised to "strengthen" them.

"Russia is ready and able to continuously power the Chinese economy, businesses, cities, and towns with affordable and environmentally clean energy," he said.

"As the world is on the threshold of the next technological revolution, we are determined to consistently deepen bilateral cooperation in the field of high technologies and innovations," he added.

Lying just a few hundred kilometers from the border with Russia, Harbin has long served as a key hub for cross-border trade and cultural exchange.

Putin is expected to hold a press conference with Russian state media later on Friday.

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