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Putin's China visit shows warming ties between neighboring giants

The historically tense relationship has warmed in recent years, leading to flourishing bilateral trade. Vladimir Putin will be in Beijing Tuesday to discuss everything from trade, to Iran's nuclear program, to Syria's bloody war.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a meeting with German President Joachim Gauck, not seen, at Bellevue palace in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 1. Putin begins a two-day visit to China Tuesday that is expected to focus on the rapidly growing economic ties between Russia and China.

Markus Schreiber/AP

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Newly inaugurated Russian President Vladimir Putin begins a two-day visit to China Tuesday that is expected to focus on the rapidly growing economic ties between the two giants and underscore their shared stances on burning international controversies such as Syria.

The Kremlin hopes the visit will emphasize the vast improvements made in the historically tense relationship between Russia and China since Mr. Putin first came to power more than a decade ago. Longstanding disputes along their 2,500-mile mutual frontier have been settled, cross-border trade has burgeoned, security cooperation has increased, and the two find themselves more and more on the same page in confronting what they see as Western attempts to dictate the shape of the global order.

"Russia finds political dialogue with China easier than with our Western counterparts, and Putin believes that Russia and China are two giants that have strong mutual responsibilities" to take a principled stand for things they jointly believe in, says Sergei Markov, vice president of the Plekhanov Economic University in Moscow and a frequent adviser to Putin. 

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