Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China June 8, 2018. (REUTERS/Jason Lee)
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Chinese President Xi Jinping treated Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to a state visit on Friday as the neighboring giants forge closer ties in the face of US diplomatic and economic challenges.The most powerful Russian and Chinese leaders in decades, Xi and Putin have built closer ties while US President Donald Trump has labelled both countries as economic rivals that challenge US interests and values.Putin played up his bond with his "good friend" Xi in an interview with China's state broadcaster CGTN this week.Maria Repnikova, director of the Center for Global Information Studies at Georgia State University in the US, said China makes Russia look "stronger and more relevant" on the global stage.After the Beijing visit, Putin will join Xi at a weekend summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao.
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