BEIJING, May 16 (TASS) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in the Chinese capital of Beijing on his first foreign visit after being re-elected and sworn in as Russia’s president.

Putin is traveling to China on a state visit. In accordance with diplomatic protocol, a state visit is considered as the highest in status among other foreign visits. Yury Ushakov, the presidential foreign policy aide, said that China was not randomly chosen for the president’s first foreign trip, but as a response to a similar gesture of friendship made by Chinese President Xi Jinping last year.

The visit to China will be held in two stages. The Russian president is scheduled to visit Beijing and Harbin.

In Beijing, Putin will hold a meeting Xi. The two presidents are expected to hold full-fledged one-on-one talks and those involving delegations, as well as informal face-to-face talks. The Russian president has brought a large delegation consisting of five deputy prime ministers, heads of economic, diplomatic and security agencies, as well as heads of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Russian Railways, Rosatom and Roscosmos. In addition, senior officials from 20 Russian regions have come with the president.

The bilateral talks are planned to focus on trade and economic cooperation. At the meeting, Putin and Xi will also touch upon the most pressing political and regional issues. Ushakov said that the most important part of the Beijing talks will be an informal, closed-door meeting. In the ‘1+4 format’ on each side, the two leaders will hold substantial talks on Ukraine.

The second stage of the state visit to China will take place in the city of Harbin, the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province. There, Putin will attend the opening ceremony of the 8th Russian-Chinese Expo and the 4th Russia-China Forum on Interregional Cooperation, and will also meet with the students and teaching staff of the Harbin Institute of Technology. In addition, the president is scheduled to talk to journalists of the Kremlin pool.

Photo from TASS