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Putin says Russia-China ties getting 'better and better'

  |   Feb. 7, 2014 at 5:29 AM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said ties between his country and China "get better and better" and it may seem there is little room left for improvement.

Putin's comment came after he met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping,Thursday in Sochi, Russia, site of the Winter Olympics, RIA Novosti reported.

"Our bilateral ties get better and better, although it might seem that everything is good to the point when there is little room left for improvement," Putin said.

The Russian leader said he and Xi, who have met six times since Xi became president last March, have five meetings scheduled for this year.

Trade between the two countries amounts to about $87 billion annually and is expected to reach $100.

A China Daily report said Russia and China, as suggested by Putin, propose to jointly mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II next year.

China Daily quoted analysts as saying the two sides have the responsibility and shared interests to safeguard order while citing developments in Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The report said Abe wants to amend Japan's pacifist Constitution and develop a full-fledged military.

China has launched scathing attacks on the Japanese leader since his visit to a shrine that is seen as a symbol of Japan's past wartime militarism.

The two countries already are locked in a bitter territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, which are under Japanese control, in the East China Sea.

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