March 23, 2013
China’s new leader began his first overseas trip as president with a much anticipated visit to Russia today – a symbolic trip that underlines China’s desire to ensure its energy supply while showing defiance in the face of US influence in Asia.
A grand reception was held to welcome President Xi Jinping upon his arrival in Moscow, with guards riding on horseback brought out to greet a foreign leader for the first time. Kremlin guards snapped to attention as Mr Xi and his long retinue walked into the gilded, chandeliered Grand Kremlin Palace, where they met members of official delegations in the ornate St George Hall before sitting down for talks.
[...] Russia has watched China’s rise with concern, anxious that it might someday threaten its dominance on its eastern borders. But a bigger concern for the Kremlin, one that it shares with China, is blunting US influence in the region. At the start of talks, Mr Putin described the ties between the two countries as an “extremely important factor of global politics.”
Ahead of Mr Xi’s arrival, he said: “We are working together, helping to shape a new, more just world order, ensure peace and security, defend basic principles of international law.”