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Putin and Xi talk trade, N. Korea at Kremlin

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (2nd-left), welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping (4th-right), during their meeting on July 4, at the Kremlin in Moscow, as part of Jinping’s two-day visit to Moscow. (AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met Tuesday against a backdrop of mounting tensions over North Korea ahead of G20 summit talks with US President Donald Trump.

The sit-down in Moscow is meant to focus on bolstering trade ties between the two partners, with deals worth billions of dollars expected to be signed. But the talks were also expected to discuss North Korea after Pyongyang claimed the launch of its first inter-continental ballistic missile, and Trump urged China to “end this nonsense once and for all”.

“Economic questions are always at the centre of our attention but we are also engaged in coordinating our efforts on the international arena,” Putin told Xi at the start of the talks. It is their third official meeting this year. Xi in turn praised the “special character” of China’s ties with Russia. He called the two nations “good neighbours, faithful friends and reliable partners” in comments translated into Russian. Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported earlier that Putin and Xi “agreed to jointly push for a proper settlement of the peninsula issue via dialogue and negotiation” at a closed Kremlin meeting Monday evening on the eve of the official talks. (AFP)

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