MOSCOW, June 4. /TASS/. China’s President Xi Jinping regards Russian President Vladimir Putin as his closest and most reliable friend among foreign counterparts. "I cherish dearly our deep friendship," Xi told TASS and Rossiyskaya Gazeta in an interview ahead of his state visit to Russia.
"Since 2013, President Putin and I have met nearly 30 times on bilateral and multilateral occasions, and talked on the phone and written to each other many times. I keep fond memories of each interaction I had with President Putin. We have had in-depth and most wide-ranging exchanges on both major issues like the international situation, bilateral ties and governance, and more light-hearted topics like literature, art and sports. We have taken a high-speed train ride together, watched an ice hockey friendly between Chinese and Russian youth teams, exchanged phone calls and congratulatory messages on each other’s important festivals, and been awarded medals of the highest honor by each other’s countries…"
Xi said his engagement with President Putin relied on a high degree of mutual trust and a solid foundation of close friendship.
"We treat each other with respect, candor, understanding and trust. We share similar views on the international landscape and approaches to national governance," Xi said. "We both shoulder historical responsibilities for national development and rejuvenation. Most importantly, we share a high degree of consensus on the strategic significance of the China-Russia relationship and therefore the same resolve and desire to deepen and sustain its growth. I look forward to continued close interactions with President Putin. Together, we will take our bilateral ties to new heights and work tirelessly for the development and prosperity of our two great nations - China and Russia - and for the happy lives of our peoples," Xi said.