Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his eighth visit (and fourth state visit)  to Russia  from June 5 to 7, when he will attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. which is due to kick off Thursday. In a written interview with Russian media outlets, Xi Jinping held up the growth in China-Russia trade as positive outlier in global trends. There’s a clear focus this visit on geopolitics in China-Russia relations with the words “economy” and “trade” mentioned only once each in Xi Jinping’s remarks to the press alongside Putin on June 5.  Putin emphasized that “the positions of Russia and China on key global issues are close or identical.” Xi Jinping too praised the political and strategic nature of China-Russia relations, noting, “Both sides strongly support each other and defend each other’s vital interests.” In his comments to Russian media, Xi Jinping said “I have had closer interactions with President Putin than with any other foreign colleagues. He is my best and bosom friend. I cherish dearly our deep friendship.”  In a pre-visit press briefing, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said the visit was to “consolidate the political foundation of Sino-Russian relations”. On June 5, Global Times reported that 'China and Russia agreed to upgrade their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era' and described this as "a major event in China-Russia relations". 

(Comment: The visit has attracted a lot of attention coming as it does in the midst of deteriorating Sino-US ties.) 

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