Xi awards Putin friend­ship medal

Rus­sian leader feted for lift­ing ties

Global Times - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Liu Xin

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.

Soft power

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.

Photos: IC/ Xin­hua

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

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