Russian President Vladimir Putin has met in the Kremlin with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during his three-day trip to Russia in an effort to boost economic ties.

“I am confident that your visit will, of course, provide a good impetus to the development of our intergovernmental economic ties,” Putin told Li on September 18, according to a text of his opening statement.

The South China Morning Post reported Li is looking to soften the blow from a trade war with the United States and conclude agricultural deals.

At a meeting the previous day, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told Li the countries should set a goal of doubling their annual trade within the next five years to $200 billion.

Trade between the two countries rose nearly 25 percent to $108 billion in 2018, according to Russian statistics.

Li said during a stop in St. Petersburg on September 17 that he hoped to boost investment, ease market access, and increase economic cooperation.

Moscow and Beijing are marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

“Our country — it was the Soviet Union back then — was the first to recognize a new Chinese state,” Putin told Li, according to state-run TASS news agency.

Based on reporting by dpa and The South China Morning Post



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