Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping (shown in photo) were the dominant players at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference, held this year in Bali, Indonesia from October 5-8. President Obama, who did not attend the event, sent a delegation led by Secretary of State John Kerry. Taking part in the APEC-2013 forum were business and political delegations from Japan, China, Malaysia, Russia, Australia, Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea, Peru, the USA, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Chile.
Minnie Chan, writing in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on October 10, noted of the growing Beijing-Moscow axis:
When President Xi Jinping met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) leaders meeting in Bali this week, both greeted each other like old friends.
"This is the fifth meeting we had during the year and it is strong evidence of the high level and uniqueness of China-Russia relations," Xi was quoted by Xinhua as telling Putin.
Just five weeks ago, Xi met Putin in St Petersburg at the G20 summit, during which China and Russia opposed a US proposal for military intervention in Syria after UN chemical weapons inspectors confirmed that hundreds of civilians were killed by the nerve gas sarin near the capital, Damascus, on August 21.
The past few months have witnessed major advances in Russian-Chinese joint ventures in the economic and military spheres.
In June, Rosneft, the oil giant owned by the Russian government and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the oil behemoth owned by the Chinese government, signed a $270-billion deal to supply China with oil over 25 years, an agreement that Putin hailed as "unprecedented."
The agreement was signed by Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin and CNPC head Zhou Jiping in the presence of Putin and visiting Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
"An estimated value of the contract in current market parameters is absolutely unprecedented — 270 billion dollars," Putin told participants of the annual Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.
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Photo of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference: AP Images