18 photos that show the blossoming bromance between China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin

xi putin handshake.JPGRussian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where Putin presented Xi with a degree from St. Petersburg State University, on June 6, 2019.Dmitri Lovetsky/Pool via Reuters

  • Xi Jinping has been president of China since 2013, while Putin has led Russia since 1999.
  • The two leaders have formed a close friendship over the years, with Xi recently describing Putin as his "best and bosom friend."
  • They have celebrated birthdays, exchanged gifts, and attended sports games in the past.
  • Learn more about their bromance through the photos below.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

You may have heard of President Donald Trump's budding bromance with French President Emmanuel Macron or even North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has written the US president multiple letters and with whom Trump said he had a "great friendship."

But the most unwavering, longstanding relationship between world leaders may be that China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

The leaders have known each other since at least 2013, when Xi became China's president and Putin was already the leader of Russia.

Their countries share a long border, located in northwestern China and southeastern Russia, and meet often at international summits.

Learn more about their friendship through some of their best photos below.

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Xi and Putin have worked together for a while now. Xi has been China's president since March 2013, while Putin has effectively led Russia since August 1999, alternating between prime minister and president.

Xi and Putin have worked together for a while now. Xi has been China's president since March 2013, while Putin has effectively led Russia since August 1999, alternating between prime minister and president.

They last saw each other in mid-June, when Putin brought cake and ice cream to Xi's hotel in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to celebrate the Chinese leader's 66th birthday before heading to a conference together.

They last saw each other in mid-June, when Putin brought cake and ice cream to Xi's hotel in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to celebrate the Chinese leader's 66th birthday before heading to a conference together.

The writing on the cake says "Best of luck on your 66th" in Chinese.

The flavor of the ice cream is not clear. It's also not known if Xi ate any of the cake.

They were in Dushanbe at the same time to attend the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.

Read more: Vladimir Putin gave China's Xi Jinping ice cream for his 66th birthday

The leaders also toasted with Champagne ...

The leaders also toasted with Champagne ...

... and Xi gave Putin a box of tea.

... and Xi gave Putin a box of tea.

It's not clear what kind of tea Xi gave him, or if either leader drank any of it.

The week before Xi's birthday he visited Putin in Russia. Prior to his visit he gave a lengthy interview to Russia's state-run TASS news agency, in which he called Putin his "best and bosom friend."

The week before Xi's birthday he visited Putin in Russia. Prior to his visit he gave a lengthy interview to Russia's state-run TASS news agency, in which he called Putin his "best and bosom friend."

Here's the full quote:

"Since 2013, President Putin and I have met nearly 30 times on bilateral and multilateral occasions, and talked on the phone and written to each other many times. I keep fond memories of each interaction I had with President Putin.

"We have had in-depth and most wide-ranging exchanges on both major issues like the international situation, bilateral ties and governance, and more light-hearted topics like literature, art, and sports.

"We have taken a high-speed train ride together, watched an ice-hockey friendly between Chinese and Russian youth teams, celebrated his birthday in Bali, exchanged phone calls and congratulatory messages on each other's important festivals, and been awarded medals of the highest honor by each other's countries.

"I have had closer interactions with President Putin than with any other foreign colleagues. He is my best and bosom friend. I cherish dearly our deep friendship."

Read more: The tech cold war just got a lot more intense after Russia signed a deal to build 5G internet with Huawei

During that trip the two leaders also took a sunset boat ride in St. Petersburg, Putin's birthplace.

During that trip the two leaders also took a sunset boat ride in St. Petersburg, Putin's birthplace.

Xi said, according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency: "I'm honored to visit the hometown of President Putin. The fertile land here has bred a number of great people. It is the pride of Russia and its people."

Source: South China Morning Post

Perhaps they also talked about a mutual friend, Kim Jong Un. Both Putin and Xi recently met with the North Korean leader, who had previously been treated as a pariah on the world stage.

Perhaps they also talked about a mutual friend, Kim Jong Un. Both Putin and Xi recently met with the North Korean leader, who had previously been treated as a pariah on the world stage.

Kim traveled to Russia to meet Putin for the first time in April, and had visited Xi in China four times between March 2018 and January 2019.

Xi then visited Kim in North Korea in June, marking the first such visit by a Chinese president in 14 years.

Read more: Putin broke the habit of a lifetime and didn't show up late for his first-ever meeting with Kim Jong Un

Last September the two leaders also learned how to make pancakes together ...

Last September the two leaders also learned how to make pancakes together ...

Read more: Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping made Russian pancakes with caviar, and the photos are incredible

... and they had multiple types of Russian delicacy caviar to choose as toppings.

... and they had multiple types of Russian delicacy caviar to choose as toppings.

They've also shared many drinks. Here the two leaders down vodka during a ceremony in Shanghai in May 2014.

They've also shared many drinks. Here the two leaders down vodka during a ceremony in Shanghai in May 2014.

Putin has even met Xi's wife, Chinese singer Peng Liyuan. Here Putin shakes Peng's hand at a 2014 banquet in Beijing as Xi looks on gleefully.

Putin has even met Xi's wife, Chinese singer Peng Liyuan. Here Putin shakes Peng's hand at a 2014 banquet in Beijing as Xi looks on gleefully.

Here are the three of them walking alongside Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (far left) and former US President Barack Obama (far right) at the same event.

Here are the three of them walking alongside Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (far left) and former US President Barack Obama (far right) at the same event.

Read more: 500 Rolls-Royces, $20,000 haircuts, and a 1,788-room palace: Everything we know about the lavish life of the Sultan of Brunei, who sparked outrage after introducing a law punishing homosexuality with death

The two leaders have also indulged in one of Putin's favorite pastimes: sport. Here Putin waves to spectators at a friendly youth ice hockey match between Russia and China in Tianjin, China, in June 2018.

The two leaders have also indulged in one of Putin's favorite pastimes: sport. Here Putin waves to spectators at a friendly youth ice hockey match between Russia and China in Tianjin, China, in June 2018.

The two leaders frequently prop each other up on the world stage as well. During Xi's June trip to Russia, Putin gave him a huge leg up by overseeing the signing of a substantial contract between Russia's MTS mobile network and the embattled Chinese tech firm Huawei to build 5G internet.

The two leaders frequently prop each other up on the world stage as well. During Xi's June trip to Russia, Putin gave him a huge leg up by overseeing the signing of a substantial contract between Russia's MTS mobile network and the embattled Chinese tech firm Huawei to build 5G internet.

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/26/putin-rides-to-xis-rescue-on-battered-silk-road-as-the-west-stews-a65397

https://www.voanews.com/europe/putin-demands-role-eurasian-part-belt-and-road

https://tass.com/economy/1008158

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/belt-and-road-by-the-numbers-where-xi-s-project-stands-now

Read more: The tech cold war just got a lot more intense after Russia signed a deal to build 5G internet with Huawei

Putin has also regularly shown his support for the Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious trade project that aims to link China to the rest of the world through infrastructure. It's considered Xi's pet project.

Putin has also regularly shown his support for the Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious trade project that aims to link China to the rest of the world through infrastructure. It's considered Xi's pet project.

Xi, in turn, has also attended Putin's events in the past. Here he is attending this June's St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, also known as Russia's version of Davos.

Xi, in turn, has also attended Putin's events in the past. Here he is attending this June's St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, also known as Russia's version of Davos.

Both Putin and Xi run hard-handed governments, which regularly censor content deemed unsavory to the regime, and face human rights abuses.

Both Putin and Xi run hard-handed governments, which regularly censor content deemed unsavory to the regime, and face human rights abuses.

Russia, which is notoriously hostile to LGBT people, censored five minutes of footage depicting gay sex and men kissing from "Rocketman," the Elton John biopic that released earlier this year.

The scenes violated Russian laws that bans "homosexual propaganda."

Similarly, China — where same-sex marriage is not recognized — also cut out three minutes from the Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody," which included scenes where Freddie Mercury reveals he is bisexual and when the band members wear women's clothing, The New York Times reported.

Both leaders are likely to remain in their posts for many years from now on, which will allow their friendship to keep blossoming.

Both leaders are likely to remain in their posts for many years from now on, which will allow their friendship to keep blossoming.

Xi's presidency has no end in sight as his rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress, abolished term limits last year.

However, Putin's presidency will come to a close in 2024 as Russian presidents are not allowed to hold the posts for more than two terms in a row.

However, he will still be eligible to become prime minister again.

As he told a conference in November 2018: "Why are you in such a hurry? I'm not going anywhere yet."

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