Hours before Donald Trump stunned the G7 with a friendly overture to Russia, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping sealed their status as BFFs. The Chinese president even gave his Russian counterpart a large gold necklace—technically a “friendship medal”—as a symbol of their growing bond.
“President Putin is the leader of a great country who is influential around the world,” Xi said. “He is my best, most intimate friend.” The two have met more than 20 times.
Putin received China’s first-ever friendship medal for his “outstanding contributions” to China’s modernization drive and helping to maintain world peace, AFP reported.
He also reminisced to a Chinese broadcaster early this week about celebrating his birthday with Xi in 2013: “I won’t hide it, we had a shot of vodka and sliced some sausage. We finished the day’s work and he celebrated my birthday with me … I’ve never established such relations or made such arrangements with any other foreign colleague, but I did it with President Xi.”
Putin previously gave Xi some fancy neckwear— the Order of St Andrew the Apostle—in 2017.