MOSCOW: On the afternoon of 21 March local time, President Xi Jinping had large-group talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow. President Xi pointed out that with the joint efforts of the two sides, China-Russia relations have maintained a momentum of robust, sound and steady growth. The two countries have enjoyed deepening political mutual trust, convergence of interests, and understanding between the peoples, and have advanced cooperation on trade, investment and energy, and on exchanges at people-to-people and sub-national levels. He had good exchanges with President Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and they reached a number of important common understandings. China-Russia cooperation is covering more areas, building greater consensus and delivering early harvests. More cooperation is being comprehensively advanced. China is in the first year of fully implementing the guiding principles set forth by the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and will foster a new development paradigm at a faster pace, promote high-quality development, and advance Chinese modernization in all respects. Russia is pursuing its national development goals through 2030. The two sides need to step up communication and coordination for new and greater progress in practical cooperation. President Xi expressed his readiness to work with President Putin to provide guidance and instructions for the bilateral relations and practical cooperation to boost the development and rejuvenation of both countries. A day earlier, President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on his arrival in Moscow. When President Xi reached the Kremlin, he was greeted by the Kremlin Commandant at the alighting point. President Putin warmly shook hands and took photos with President Xi. The two Presidents had an in-depth and candid exchange on China-Russia relations and issues of mutual interest. President Xi noted that he was pleased to pay another state visit to Russia at the invitation of President Putin. Russia was the first country he visited after he was elected President ten years ago. Memories from that visit remain fresh today. Over the past ten years, he and President Putin stayed in close touch. President Xi expressed his appreciation to President Putin for immediately sending him congratulatory messages on his reelection as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee by the 20th CPC National Congress and on his reelection not long ago as Chinese President. He noted that Russia will hold the presidential election next year, and under President Putin’s strong leadership, Russia has made good progress in development and rejuvenation. President Xi said he is confident that the Russian people will continue to give firm support to President Putin. President Xi stressed that there is a profound historical logic for China-Russia relationship to reach where it is today. China and Russia are each other’s biggest neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner of coordination. Both countries see their relationship as a high priority in their overall diplomacy and policy on external affairs. China always upholds an independent foreign policy. To consolidate and develop well China-Russia relations is a strategic choice China has made on the basis of its own fundamental interests and the prevailing trends of the world. China is firm in keeping to the general direction of strengthening strategic coordination with Russia. Both China and Russia are committed to realizing national development and rejuvenation, support world multi-polarity and work for greater democracy in international relations. The two countries should further deepen practical cooperation in various fields and strengthen coordination and collaboration on multilateral platforms such as the UN to boost their respective national development and rejuvenation, and be a bulwark for world peace and stability. President Putin extended a warm welcome to President Xi for his state visit to Russia and once again warmly congratulated him on his reelection as Chinese President. President Putin said that in the past ten years China made impressive and great achievements in all areas of development. This is attributable to the outstanding leadership of President Xi and proves the strength of China’s national political system and governance system. He was confident that under President Xi’s strong leadership, China will definitely continue to develop and prosper and successfully realize all the great goals that have been set. With concerted efforts by both sides, Russia-China relations in recent years have delivered fruitful results in various areas. Russia stands ready to continue to deepen bilateral practical cooperation, step up communication and collaboration in international affairs, and promote world multi-polarity and greater democracy in international relations. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the Ukraine issue. President Xi stressed that, on the Ukraine issue, voices for peace and rationality are building. Most countries support easing tensions, stand for peace talks, and are against adding fuel to the fire. A review of history shows that conflicts in the end have to be settled through dialogue and negotiation. China released a document on its position on the Ukraine crisis, advocating the political settlement of the crisis and rejecting the Cold War mentality and unilateral sanctions. China believes that the more difficulties there are, the greater the need to keep space for peace. The more acute the problem is, the more important it is not to give up efforts for dialogue. China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the political settlement of the Ukraine issue. President Putin said that Russia appreciates China for consistently upholding an impartial, objective, and balanced position and standing for fairness and justice on major international issues. Russia has carefully studied China’s position paper on the political settlement of the Ukraine issue and is open to talks for peace. Russia welcomes China to play a constructive role in this regard.