Tuesday’s meeting between the two leaders comes amid continued US-led sanctions against Russia and an escalating US-China trade war.
At least 300,000 Russian troops, 36,000 vehicles and 1,000 aircraft are taking part in the Vostok 2018 exercises, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The exercises will be held from September 11 to 17 in Russia’s Eastern Military District, an underdeveloped and sparsely populated close to the country’s borders with China and Mongolia.
In a statement in August, Gen. Sergi Shoigu, supreme commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces, said the games would be at an “unprecedented scale both in territory and number of troops involved.”
The Ministry has previously characterized the exercises as the largest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Xi and Putin deepening ties
The exercises coincide with the Russian-sponsored Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on the Russian Pacific coast.
Xi said China and Russia would work together to maintain stability and peace in the world.
China and Russia would promote “the political resolution of hotspot issues, resolutely upholding the UN charters and principles and standing firm against unilateralism and protectionism to construct a new type of international relations and a community of shared future for mankind,” Xi said in comments Tuesday alongside Putin.
Xi’s arrival in Vladivostok marked the first time a Chinese leader has participated in the annual event, and the third meeting between Xi and Putin in 2018.
China and Russia have been moving closer as both countries look to build a countermeasure against Washington.
Bobo Lo, a China Russia relations expert and author of “A Wary Embrace,” told CNN that both Putin and Xi have separate reasons for wanting to amplify their relationship.
“(China) is the perfect instrument to project Russia as a resurgent global power, so essentially the Russia narrative is that China, Russia and to a lesser extent India, are part of this new dynamic world order,” he said.
“(For Beijing) they need Russia to be benign to them, so Russia might not be able to help China that much but Russia can certainly makes things difficult to China if it should ever be so inclined.”
Against this backdrop of concerns over rising US tensions, warmer ties between Xi and Putin have been exhaustively covered by domestic media in both countries.