Russian arms industry welcomes China's Xi eyeing big deals
Beijing: Russia's defence industry rolled out the red carpet for new Chinese President Xi Jinping amid speculation of top military deals as he wound up his high-profile visit to Moscow saying that the bond between the two countries provided "strategic balance to global order".
Xi, 59, who is also China's military chief besides being the President of the country and head of the ruling Communist Party of China, visited Russia's defence ministry becoming the first Chinese leader to tour the headquarters of one of world's most well-developed weapons industries.
Xi was received by Russian Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu with full military honours.
While meeting Shoigu and other senior military generals, Xi said the idea of visiting the ministry was proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he believed that the trip would benefit the strategic and political mutual trust between the two countries and boost their military-to-military relationship and cooperation.
Xi who earlier said Sino-Russian ties helped guarantee the "international strategic balance and peace" observed that military cooperation has a special and important place in the overall China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.
The two armed forces, over the recent years, have seen their exchanges and cooperation constantly enhanced, particularly in the fields of high-level contacts, personnel training, joint exercises and military technologies, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.
After the meeting, Xi also visited the command centre of Russia's military force.
Xi's visit to Russia's defence ministry comes in the backdrop of reports that cash strapped Moscow is opening its top-of-the-line weapons systems to the fast expanding Chinese military, which this year budgeted to spend USD 115.7 billion on defence.
Reports say the two countries concluded framework agreements for the sale of four Russian Amur-1650 diesel submarines to China and sale of latest Su-35 long-range fighter planes.
This is perhaps for the first time in a decade that Russia plans to sell more powerful weapons platforms to China than the ones being supplied to India, Moscow's longstanding strategic partner.
Hesitant of the duplication of its technology, Russia sold a host of weapons systems in the past including Su-30s, but in small numbers, even though it remained as the largest supplier of engines to much of Chinese fighter planes including the JF Thunder being manufactured jointly by China and Pakistan.
In the past, Moscow has also accused Beijing of violating the patents of Russian-made weapons and charged that China was simply copying Russian technologies and competing with Russia in the international arms market.
The Chinese President later left for Tanzania, continuing his first foreign tour.