March 22 - Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Moscow on Friday in his first foreign visit as president. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Chinese leader Xi Jinping sent a signal to the United States and Europe on Friday (March 22) by arriving to Russia on his first foreign trip as president, underlining the importance of Beijing's growing alliance with Moscow. The world's largest energy producer, Russia, and its biggest consumer, China, want particularly to bolster their clout as a financial and geopolitical counterweight to Washington, whose "Asia pivot" regional strategy worries Beijing. Xi and President Vladimir Putin, who meet later on Friday, may preside over deals that would make Beijing Russia's top customer for oil, although they are not expected to sign a long-sought agreement on supplies of pipeline gas to China. Just before Xi arrived with first lady Peng Liyuan, a $2 billion deal was announced by Russian and Chinese companies to develop coal resources in eastern Siberia, which underlined the countries' intentions. Putin has said he wants to "catch the Chinese wind in our economic sail" and that desire will grow stronger if China overtakes the United States as the world's largest economy during Xi's 10-year term. Perhaps symbolically, Xi's visit overshadowed a meeting between leaders of the Russian government and the European Union's Commission that was also taking place in Moscow.