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News Link • China

Xi touts Putin ties as US tensions bring them closer

•, Joanna CHIU

Xi placed the large golden medal around Putin's neck at the grandiose Great Hall of the People in front of dignitaries from both countries.

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

"This medal of friendship represents the Chinese people's lofty respect for President Putin, and symbolises the profound friendship between China and Russia," he said.

The most powerful Russian and Chinese leaders in decades, Putin and Xi have forged closer ties as US President Donald Trump has labelled both countries economic rivals that challenge US interests and values.

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