BEIJING (AP) — Embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on a visit seeking support for Ukraine’s battered economy.

Yanukovych heralded the strategic partnership between the two countries during his Thursday meeting with Xi at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, where China’s legislature meets. Following talks, the two presidents were to oversee the signing of economic agreements.

Protesters hold placard with a portrait of President Viktor Yanukovych and reading "Tsar" as they rally at the central Independence square in Kiev, Ukraine earlier this week. Pic: AP.

The meeting comes the same day as a Chinese firm with a patchy track record announced plans for a $3 billion port and industrial park project on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. China is also a customer for Ukraine’s defense industries and Chinese firms have also shown strong interest in Ukraine’s agricultural sector.

Ukraine’s economic malaise has helped fuel ongoing massive anti-government protests in the capital, Kiev, demanding the government’s resignation.