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Vladimir Putin arrives in China to meet Xi Jinping as West watches with growing concern

China has rolled out the red carpet to welcome Russian president Vladimir Putin for a potentially consequential and heavily symbolic state visit that will be closely watched in the West.

Mr Putin’s second visit in less than a year comes as Western nations, led by the US, are putting pressure on China to stop throwing its economic and industrial weight behind Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The two-day trip is Mr Putin’s first abroad since starting his new term as president earlier this month.

Mr Putin arrived in Beijing on Thursday morning and is set to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping later today. It will be the fourth time the two have met since the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022.

They are likely to discuss ways to strengthen their “no limits” partnership which was announced at a previous meeting between them nearly two years ago.

The West has been testing this partnership by pressuring China to end economic and industrial support that has enabled Russia to blunt the impact of American and European sanctions cutting it off from global markets and supply chains.

China’s bilateral trade with Russia soared by 26 per cent to a record $240bn last year.

Analysts told The Independent that Beijing and Moscow will try to find ways to expand bilateral trade and sidestep Western sanctions.

“The Putin-Xi meeting is both consequential and symbolic as they will definitely seek to strengthen their partnership in the face of enormous fatigue and reluctance to support the war in Ukraine among Western leaders,” said Swaran Singh, an international relations expert and professor of diplomacy at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

For Mr Putin, the visit is a chance to show off his alliance with the world’s second largest

Read more on independent.co.uk