Putin heads to Beijing for state visit with birthday buddy Xi Jinping

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna | Thomas Kronsteiner  Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna | Thomas Kronsteiner Getty Images

On the June 12 summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, Bloomberg reported Mr Putin said both Russian Federation and China agreed on the need for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"President Putin is the leader of a great country who is influential around the world".

Li said that leaders of the two countries have developed a personal friendship.

Xi said China's "highest honour" is bestowed on foreigners who have made "outstanding contributions" to the country's modernisation drive and helped maintain world peace.

During the medal presentation ceremony on Friday, Mr Xi, noting that since 2000, Mr Putin has visited China 19 times, called the Russian President an old friend to the Chinese people, and also his "best friend".

China is mired in tough negotiations with the U.S.to avoid a trade war, while Moscow, Syria, and Ukraine have deep differences with Washington, on multiple diplomatic fronts.

Nuclear power deals signed by the two leaders in Beijing - the biggest such cooperation agreements between the two countries that were reached after more than two years of negotiation - cover three projects including the Tianwan plant in Jiangsu and the Xudabao facility in Liaoning, state-run China National Nuclear Corporation said in a statement. Mr. Xi "is approachable and sincere", Mr. Putin told CGTN. "But he's also a very dependable man to work with".

Two men take knee during national anthem at Trump's White House ceremony
Trump's tool of football patriotism has become politically potent as it accelerated the decline in NFL viewership last season. Some NFL players have chosen to kneel during the national anthem the last two seasons to protest social injustice.

Maria Repnikova, assistant professor in global communication at Georgia State University, told CNN that, while the two countries were undoubtedly growing closer, there is also an element of global propaganda at play.

Premier of the State Council of China Li Keqiang said earlier on Friday that China is ready to develop cooperation with Russian Federation both in traditional spheres for the two countries, and in other areas, including nuclear sphere.

President Xi Jinping on Friday awarded China's first friendship medal to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as the two leaders firmed up their alliance amid mounting United States diplomatic and economic pressure on them.

"For China, its best friend has always been Russia, and for Russia, China is a strategic partner, so this award is really a reflection of the special relationship that has existed for a few decades", he said.

Xi was also quoted by state news agency Xinhua as saying: "No matter how worldwide situations change, China and Russian Federation always firmly support each other in defending their respective core interests".

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose country is an observer member of the SCO, will also attend the summit at a time when China and Russian Federation are seeking to save the Iran nuclear deal following Trump's withdrawal from the pact. Tension between President Donald Trump and traditionally close USA allies has overshadowed that global meeting.

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