Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to sign a multi-billion dollar gas agreement with China during a two-day visit that kicks off on Tuesday, ending more than a decade of false starts and wrangling over a deal seen as vital to both sides.
More broadly, the Russian leader, cold-shouldered in the West for his stance on Ukraine, can expect a warmer reception in China, itself increasingly assertive in territorial disputes with smaller neighbors in the South China Sea.
The crisis in Ukraine, which has left European countries looking at ways to reduce dependency on Russian natural gas supplies, and Beijing's drive to switch from coal use to cleaner fuels, have created a convergence of interests.
Analysts said that will be on display when Putin meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shanghai, although the success of his visit will rest in part on whether any energy agreement contains enough detail to take it beyond mere words.
Chinese state media on Monday quoted Putin as saying that preparations for a gas deal had entered "the final phase".
Negotiations in the past have collapsed over differences on pricing.
Russia's state-controlled Gazprom said at the weekend that it was still "one digit" away from a deal.