Putin, Xi Beijing meeting underscores close relationship

Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing at the start of a state visit ahead of a summit featuring their two countries and six Asian states.

Putin was given a formal state welcome at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing on Friday before sitting down for talks with Xi.

Russia and China have responded to the U.S. national security strategy describing them as America's top adversaries by vowing to further expand their economic, political and military cooperation.

They have also sought to strengthen the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional grouping they created, which meets this weekend.

Further underlining the relationship's importance, the visit marks Putin's first overseas trip since he began his new term in office a month ago.