Xi awards Putin friendship medal
Russian leader feted for lifting ties
Chinese President Xi Jinping awarded the first Friendship Medal of the People’s Republic of China to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday afternoon.
Analysts said that the medal represents the Chinese people’s admiration and appreciation for Putin’s contribution to promoting China-Russia ties to the highest level.
“This is the first time for China to award a foreign leader a friend--
ship medal since the medal was set up in January 2016, which reveals that China attaches great importance to China-Russia ties,” Li Guofu, a research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times.
Li said that leaders of the two countries have developed a close rapport.
According to China’s law on national medals and honorary titles, friendship medals, one of the highest state honors, are to be presented to foreigners who have made outstanding contributions to China’s socialist modernization drive, promoted exchange and cooperation between China and the world, and safeguarded world peace.
“Putin deserves the medal. For the past 18 years, he has played an active role in promoting China-Russia ties,” Wang Lijiu, an expert of Russian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.
“China and Russia have developed a comprehensive strategic partnership during Putin’s tenure. The quality of the bilateral ties has been enhanced,” Wang said.
In July 2017, Putin awarded Xi the Order of St. Andrew for his distinguished service to the peoples of China and Russia. The Order of St. Andrew, the Apostle of the First-Called, is the highest order of Russia and is awarded for outstanding service to the state, Russian News Agency TASS reported.
China and Russia have enjoyed the best friendship and their friendly ties have set an example to the international community. Future bilateral cooperation may focus on comprehensively supporting each other, especially on the economy, and it will help promote the central region of Europe, Wang said.
Xi and Putin on Friday also agreed to promote greater development of China-Russia relations at a high level, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The two leaders agreed that China and Russia should adhere to the concept of everlasting friendship and the spirit of strategic coordination, and expand and deepen cooperation in all areas.
Xi described the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination as “mature, stable and solid,” Xinhua reported.
Awarding honor medals to foreign leaders has become an important part of international exchanges, which also represents a country’s soft power and the openness of its diplomacy, Zhang Shuhua, director of the institute of information studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.
The gold and blue medal adopts elements including a peace dove, the Earth, a handshake and a lotus, while the chain features Chinese knots, evergreens, peonies, a jade disc and orchids.
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.
Awarding the first medal also shows that China’s honors system has become international and it can also help the world understand China’s developing efforts to create a community of shared future for mankind, Zhang said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) speaks after being presented with the Friendship Medal of the People’s Republic of China by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. Right: The friendship medal