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February 07, 2014 AT 5:08 AM
China's President Xi Jinping said Russia's Winter Olympics would be splendid, state media reported, a show of support during a meeting with his Russian counterpart before Friday's official opening of the Games in Sochi. Xi met with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Thursday, a visit that coincides with a trip by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, which faces sharply deteriorating ties with China involving spats over tiny uninhabited islands. The presence of both leaders is a seal of approval for Putin and shows the political stakes at play in what has been a controversial run-up to the Olympics given Russia's domestic law against gay "propaganda" and concerns over security.