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China and Russia cultivate more cooperation amid tensions with West

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin promised ever-closer cooperation and oversaw a series of deals Saturday, as the two countries deepen ties in the face of growing tensions with the West.

In what was Putin’s fourth trip to China since Xi became President in 2013, the two men stressed their shared outlook which mirrors the countries’ converging trade, investment and geopolitical interests.

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“Russia and China stick to points of view which are very close to each other or are almost the same in the international arena,” Putin said.

The Russian leader added that the two had discussed “strengthening together the fight against international terrorism”, the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, Syria, and stability in the South China Sea.

Russia and China have been brought together by mutual geopolitical concerns, among them wariness of the United States.

The two countries often vote as a pair on the UN Security Council, where both hold a veto, sometimes in opposition to Western powers on issues such as Syria.

China has raised tensions with its neighbours and the US over its claims to virtually all of the South China Sea, where it has built militarised artificial islands to bolster its claims in the contested but strategically vital region.

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Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and support for other Ukrainian separatist movements have led to the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.

At loggerheads with the West, Moscow is seeking to refocus its gas and oil exports from Europe — its main energy market — towards Asia and is diligently building an energy alliance with Beijing.

– ‘Friends forever’ –

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Xi emphasised that this year marked the 15th anniversary of the China-Russia treaty of friendship and hoped that the two countries might remain “friends forever”.

“President Putin and I equally agree that when faced with international circumstances that are increasingly complex and changing, we must persist even harder in maintaining the spirit of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership and cooperation,” he said.

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The two sides signed over 30 cooperation deals in areas such as trade, infrastructure, foreign affairs, technology and innovation, agriculture, finance, energy, sports and the media.

Notably, Russian oil giant Rosneft inked a deal with China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) on developing a gas processing and petrochemical plant in East Siberia, as China seeks energy to fuel its economic growth.

Xi and Putin signed two joint statements themselves, one “to strengthen global strategic stability” and one to promote the development of information and cyberspace.

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Putin said that 58 different deals worth a total of around $50 billion were currently in discussion, adding that the two countries will seek to secure an agreement on building a high-speed rail line in Russia by the end of the year.

Xi also called for closer cooperation between news agencies in Russia and China so that both countries could “together increase the influence” of their media on world public opinion.

Under Xi, Communist China has mounted crackdowns on dissidents and tightened restrictions on the media, while critics accuse Putin’s Russia of rights abuses.


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Trump declares impeachment ‘dead’ — and demands apology — in late night Twitter outburst

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President Donald Trump lashed out on his favorite social media platform late Thursday evening.

Eight minutes before midnight eastern time, Trump unloaded.

Trump wrote, "Democrats must apologize to USA: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that 'United States Ambassador Gordon Sondland did NOT link financial military assistance to a request for Ukraine to open up an investigation into former V.P. Joe Biden & his son, Hunter Biden. Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigation.'”

Trump did not say why he was taking the word of a foreign official over multiple sworn testimonies from members of his own administration.

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Pelosi is ‘marrying up the facts and the law’: Ex-prosecutor says ‘bribery’ is a critical indictment of Trump

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi was masterful in using the word "bribery" to describe President Donald Trump's actions with Ukraine that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, according to a former federal prosecutor.

MSNBC anchor Brian Williams interviewed former Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger on Thursday evening's "The Last Word."

Please expand for us on why it is significant and why is it important to label this bribery," Williams said.

"So I think Nancy Pelosi was very specific in calling this bribery for two reasons," Berger replied.

"The first is that -- unlike quid pro quo -- ribery is something that most people understand, especially people who have children," she said, with a chuckle. "We all sort of have a general understanding of that."

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Giuliani henchmen showered Republican with cash — and Trump almost made him ambassador to Ukraine: report

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Yet another bombshell report has shed new light on President Donald Trump's suspicious Ukraine policies.

"At the same time that Rudy Giuliani and his now-indicted pals were pushing for President Donald Trump to remove Amb. Marie Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine, Trump administration officials were eyeing potential contenders to take over her job. One of the people in the mix, according to three sources familiar with the discussions, was Rep. Pete Sessions, a former Congressman who called for Yovanovitch’s firing," The Daily Beast reported Thursday night. "He is also a longtime ally of the former New York Mayor, and is believed to have taken millions of dollars from Giuliani’s indicted cronies."

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