What do the Chinese think of Russia

Summit diplomacy: The Russians love China - but not the Chinese

The faces were relaxed, with a smile, the handshake friendly. With Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the heads of state of two countries that are moving closer and closer together met on Tuesday at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. Xi's first-time attendance at the summit and a bilateral meeting with Putin underline how close Beijing and Moscow are to each other.

The location of the meeting, only about 60 kilometers as the crow flies from the border with China, says it all: the Kremlin is promoting a course eastwards - investments and technologies are now to come from China instead of the west.

There has long been talk of a strategic partnership with joint energy projects and military cooperation. During Xi's visit, 3,200 Chinese Army soldiers will take part in the Vostok 2018 strategic exercise, the largest in Russia's history. It is also the largest Chinese contingent that has ever participated in a foreign maneuver.

The presidents met twice in the past three months. Mutual trade rose 25.8 percent to more than $ 58 billion in the first half of 2018 and is expected to reach $ 100 billion for the first time by the end of the year. However, China's foreign trade with the USA is five times as high. The feared intensification of the trade war with the USA is a weighty reason for Beijing's rapprochement with Moscow.