While Donald Trump is in Canada getting the cold shoulder from G7 leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin is receiving accolades in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping bestowed Putin with the inaugural Friendship Medal of the People’s Republic of China, for, among other things, “safeguarding world peace.”
Xi said the award is the highest state honor given to foreigners, awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions, “promoting exchange and cooperation between China and the world, and safeguarding world peace,” as quoted by Xinhua.
Putin is in Beijing for a state visit, during which he will attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
“China and Russia always firmly support each other in defending their respective core interests,” Xi said, adding that the two countries “play a pivotal role in establishing a new type of international relations and building a community with a shared future for humanity.”
Meanwhile, in Canada, a growing rift between the United States and its most important allies was on full display. Tensions mounted between the Trump administration and fellow G7 members Canada, Germany and France when the US imposed steep tariffs on imported metals from the countries.
Adding an extra layer of friction to the gathering, Trump suggested that Russia – which was expelled following the annexation of Crimea – should be allowed to rejoin the group.
“Now, I love our country. I have been Russia’s worst nightmare,” Trump said, in apparent reference to accusations that he has been soft on Moscow. “But with that being said, Russia should be in this meeting. Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?”
While the suggestion is likely to draw the ire of the Western political establishment, the recently installed Italian prime minister was quick to endorse Trump’s suggestion. Leaders of Italy’s new populist government are known to have cultivated friendly ties to Moscow and have been vocal critics of sanctions on Russia.