China's foreign ministry congratulates Putin on his inauguration as president of Russia

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's foreign ministry congratulated Vladimir Putin on his inauguration as president of Russia, according to a spokesperson on Wednesday.

"China congratulates President Putin on his inauguration," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian, noting President Xi Jinping had already sent a congratulatory message to Putin on his re-election.

Lin said Sino-Russian relations have remained healthy under the strategic guidance of the two leaders.

"China attaches great importance to the strategic leading role of the head of state diplomacy in bilateral relations between the two countries. The two heads of state agreed to continue to maintain close exchanges to ensure the smooth and stable development of Sino-Russian relations," he said.

The United States and most European Union nations boycotted a Kremlin ceremony to swear in Putin for a new six-year term as president on Tuesday, citing Russia's war in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Ethan Wang and Bernard Orr; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christina Fincher)