Xi, Putin Promise Closer Ties

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands after signing an agreement during a bilateral meeting at the Xijiao State Guesthouse ahead of the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping promised closer bilateral ties during a meeting in Shanghai on Tuesday.

The two leaders oversaw the signing of 49 agreements in fields such as energy, transport and infrastructure, though no details were given.

But the countries were not able to reach a long-awaited deal that would supply China with billions of dollars of Russian natural gas for 30 years.

Nonetheless, President Xi praised his country's ties with Russia, saying the relationship is key to improving each others' international stature. "We attach a lot of importance to the quality of practical cooperation between China and Russia," he stated. "We will begin more large-scale, strategic project cooperation to improve our two nations' power and international competitiveness."

President Putin, meanwhile, stressed the importance of strong Russia-China military links, which he said could help maintain regional peace. "Cooperation between the two militaries is very important. Cooperation between the defense ministries of the two countries is also very important. This cooperation is very significant in maintaining regional and global peace and stability," he said.

Putin's government has become more isolated following Western sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

The sanctions also have encouraged Russia to look for more non-European buyers for its natural gas supply.

The deal would be a good fit for China, which experiences natural gas shortages and relies heavily on coal.

While Russian officials said the natural gas deal had made progress, there still appears to be disagreements over pricing.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.