BEIJING (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized burgeoning military ties with China on Wednesday on the second day of a visit to his nation's eastern neighbor.
Putin told Vice President Xi Jinping that he and Chinese President Hu Jintao have vowed to expand military exchanges and he also recalled recent Russian-Chinese naval exercises in the Yellow Sea.
Military exchanges between Moscow and Beijing have accelerated under a regional security grouping that has hosted regular border protection and anti-terrorism drills.
China is a major customer for Russian fighters, submarines, missiles frigates, and other high-tech arms, but mistrust lingers from their Cold War rivalry. Ties have warmed steadily, however, over Putin's decade-long dominance of Russian political life.
Putin's visit is his first to China since returning to Russia's presidency last month and comes ahead of his first visit to the U.S. in a move seen as signaling an eastward pivot in Russian foreign policy.
In Beijing, Putin reaffirmed targets of raising bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2015 from $83.5 billion last year, and to $200 million by 2020.
Warming ties between China and Russia have counterbalanced U.S. influence and shielded Syria from international moves to halt its crackdown on a 15-month uprising.