Vladimir Putin to honor China's President Xi Jinping with award

By Allen Cone  |  Updated July 3, 2017 at 3:14 PM
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July 3 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin will honor Chinese President Xi Jinping with an award for his distinguished service to the peoples of China and Russia, a Kremlin official told reporters Monday.

Xi will receive the Order of St. Andrew after high-level talks in Moscow on Monday and Tuesday before heading to Germany later this week for a G20 summit. U.S. President Donald Trump plans to meet Putin on the sidelines of the summit.

"I would particularly like to note that during his visit to Russia, Xi Jinping will be awarded with the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First Called by our president," Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said.

The order was established in 1698 by Tsar Peter the Great, in honor of Saint Andrew, the first apostle of Jesus and patron saint of Russia. It was abolished after the Russian Revolution in 1917 but was officially reinstated as the highest Russian civilian and military award by presidential decree in 1998.

The parties will discuss bilateral cooperation as well as key global and regional issues, Ushakov told the media.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the two leaders will also meet Tuesday with representatives of the Russian and Chinese public, business circles and media.

On the same day, Xi will talk to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to discuss cooperation in trade, investment, the energy sector, industries, transport infrastructure and agriculture, Peskov said.

Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Huilai said the leaders will sign agreements worth around $10 billion.

The two leaders have met more than 20 times since Xi took power in 2012.

"China's getting bigger and more powerful every day. Despite Putin's political strength, Russia is a country in structural decline," Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, told CNN.

On June 7, Putin and Xi met in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana.

"By tradition, we use every opportunity to meet and to discuss bilateral relations and the international agenda," Putin said at the time.

The Chinese president agreed: "Every new meeting brings new opportunities for an exchange of opinions."

Xi had hosted Putin in Beijing during the One Belt, One Road forum, which brought together dozens of heads of state in May to discuss international cooperation.

Beijing is Russia's biggest trading partner at 14.3 percent and Germany is second at 9 percent.

Between January and April, trade between the two countries grew by 37 percent to $24.5 billion.

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