At a press conference between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jingping, where a litany of economic and political agreements were announced, Xi Jingping congratulated Vladimir Putin, stating that he would award his Russian counterpart with China’s Friendship Award.
Underlining his close personal relationship with Xi, Putin told a Chinese state broadcaster in an interview aired on Wednesday that the Chinese president is the only world leader whom he once invited to celebrate his birthday.
“I’ll be frank with you, I hope he won’t be angry at me: we had a shot of vodka and had some sausages at the end of a workday,” Putin said. He praised Xi as a “comfortable partner, a good and reliable friend.”
The report that President Xi would award the Friendship Award was announced a day ago, but it was unclear as to who the beneficiary would be. Now it is clear that Vladimir Putin would be the medal’s first recipient.
Approved by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the first Friendship Medal of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be awarded on Friday.
According to the law on national medals and honorary titles, Friendship Medals, one of the highest state honors, will be presented to foreigners who have made outstanding contributions to China’s socialist modernization drive, in promoting exchange and cooperation between China and the world, and in safeguarding world peace.
The introduction of the Friendship Medal is designed to convey the basic ideas of friendship, peace, fairness, and justice to the world by setting up models of friendship between China and foreign countries, and to promote the world’s understanding of China.
The design symbolizes the lasting friendship and solidarity between the Chinese people and the people of all other countries, as well as the hope for common prosperity and development around the world.
During the bilateral talks, Putin and Xi agreed on a host of important economic and political issues, including a gas pipeline, over $600 billion in economic development, Syria’s national integrity and North Korea’s settlement – which Putin hailed as a testamate to the Russian-Chinese roadmap for peace on the Korean peninsula.
Russia also has shared its top-of-the-line military technologies with China, providing it with batteries of the long-range S-400 air defence missiles and its latest Su-35 fighter jets.