Putin concludes a trip to China by emphasizing its strategic and personal ties to Russia

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BEIJING, May 18, (AP): Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded a two-day visit to China on Friday, emphasizing the countries’ burgeoning strategic ties as well as his own personal relationship with Chinese leader Xi Jinping as they sought to present an alternative to US global influence.
Putin praised the growth in bilateral trade while touring a China-Russia Expo in the northeastern city of Harbin. He met students at the Harbin Institute of Technology, which is said to work closely with the People’s Liberation Army.
Harbin, capital of China’s Heilongjiang province, was once home to many Russian expatriates and retains some of that history in its architecture, such as the central St Sophia Cathedral, a former Russian Orthodox church.
Underscoring the personal nature of the relationship, Putin said the Harbin institute and his alma mater, St. Petersburg State University, will open a joint school for 1,500 students. “I’m sure that it will become a flagship of the Russian-Chinese cooperation in science and education,” he said
Speaking to reporters, Putin thanked Xi and praised their talks as “substantive,” saying that he spent “almost a whole day, from morning till evening” with the Chinese leader and other officials in Beijing the previous day.
The partnership between China and Russia “is not directed against anyone,” Putin said in a veiled reference to the West. “It is aimed at one thing: creating better conditions for the development of our countries and improving the well-being of the people of China and the Russian Federation.”
But he still had a back-handed rebuke for the US, and others who oppose the Moscow-Beijing relationship, saying an “emerging multipolar world … is now taking shape before our eyes.”
“And it is important that those who are trying to maintain their monopoly on decision-making in the world on all issues … do everything in their power to ensure that this process goes naturally,” he said.
Both Russia and China have frequently spoken of the “emerging multipolar world” in response to what they view as US hegemony.

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