18 photos that show the blossoming bromance between China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin
Alexandra MaJul 11, 2019, 13:44 IST
Russian 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.
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.
The leaders also toasted with Champagne ...
... and Xi gave Putin a box of tea.
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."
During that trip the two leaders also took a sunset boat ride in St. Petersburg, Putin's birthplace.
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.
Last September the two leaders also learned how to make pancakes together ...
... 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.
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.
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.
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.
Both Putin and Xi run hard-handed governments, which regularly censor content deemed unsavory to the regime, and face human rights abuses.
Both leaders are likely to remain in their posts for many years from now on, which will allow their friendship to keep blossoming.