Russian President Vladimir Putin is emphasizing burgeoning military ties with neighboring China on the second day of a visit to Beijing.

Putin told Vice President Xi Jinping in a meeting Wednesday that the sides had vowed to expand military exchanges. He also recalled recent Russian-Chinese naval exercises in the Yellow Sea.

Military exchanges between Moscow and Beijing have accelerated under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security grouping currently meeting in Beijing.

Putin's visit is his first to China since returning to the Russian presidency last month.

Warming ties between the neighbors have counterbalanced U.S. influence and shielded Syria from international moves to halt its crackdown on a 15-month uprising.