Xi, Putin exchange New Year greetings

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Russian leader Vladimir Putin sent a holiday letter to President Donald Trump in which he said Moscow is ready for dialogue on a wide-ranging agenda, the Kremlin said in a statement on Sunday.

In a separate letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Mr Putin pledged the continuation of aid to the Syrian government and people in the "fight against terrorism, in defence of state sovereignty and territorial integrity". Moscow has said one of the key issues it wanted to discuss with the United States is Washington's plans to withdraw from a Cold War era nuclear arms pact, ' the outlet reported.

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At the end of November, Trump abruptly cancelled a planned meeting with Putin on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Argentina, citing tensions around Russian forces opening fire on Ukrainian navy boats and then seizing them.

In his congratulatory message, Putin extended warm New Year greetings to Xi, and wished Chinese people happiness and good health.

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Meanwhile, Putin expressed confidence in his address to South Korean President Moon Jae-in that the two countries will have closer interaction to help consolidate peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia in general.

The message to Assad comes weeks after Trump announced that the USA will remove 2,000 troops from Syria.

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He similarly did not say whether Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election would come up when the two leaders sat down to meet. The decision from Trump sparked outrage from several high-ranking military officers, as well as the resignation of Trump's Secretary of Defense, James Mattis. Vladimir Putin responded with announcement that Moscow would be developing new missiles.His recent statement however may pave the way for more stable US-Russia relations. The Russian president also sent notes in 2017, telling Trump that the two countries needed to come together to promote "pragmatic cooperation designed for the long term".

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