Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin expressed solidarity during the BRICS Summit in Brazil this week, resuming a policy of closer cooperation marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties.
Xi told Putin 2019 is an "important year to open the future of Sino-Russian relations," Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.
The Chinese leader also said he and Putin have declared a strategic alliance in a "new era," and that the two sides had agreed to "upgrade ties" to a new level, the report stated.
Xi added his summit with Putin at the BRICS gathering comes at a time of a "changing international framework" and changes in "global governance."
Member states of BRICS, the association of five major emerging national economies that also include Brazil, India and South Africa, has the full support for a multilateral trade system from China and Russia, Xi said.
During the meeting in Brazil, Xi told world leaders protectionism and bullying are damaging the world economy, without mentioning the United States by name.
Beijing and Washington have yet to fully resolve a long-running tariff dispute.
Putin told Xi he supports China's One Belt One Road Initiative, and that Russia plans to "deepen cooperation" with China in agriculture, aerospace, aviation, energy and finance, according to Xinhua.
Xi is affirming close ties with Putin the same week he offered to help Greece with the return of ancient Greek treasures from the British Museum in London.
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos reportedly told Xi the British Museum is holding the Parthenon Marbles illegally. The Chinese president said he "totally agreed," adding the two sides should "work together," according to CNN.
"Because we have a lot of our own relics abroad...we are trying as much as we can so that we can bring these items back to their home country as soon as possible," Xi said in Athens on Tuesday.