Chinese President Xi Jinping celebrated his 66th birthday Saturday alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, who surprised him with ice cream, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The two leaders met in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, where they were attending the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
It marks their second meeting in just under a week, following an earlier appearance at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek.
“The Russian leader praised Xi Jinping’s role in the development of bilateral relations and noted the success of the recent state visit by China’s President to Russia,” reads the Kremlin statement. “Vladimir Putin gave Xi Jinping Russian ice cream as a birthday present.”
Xi thanked Putin for the ice cream and said that the Russian leader is very popular in China, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
The Chinese president traveled to Russia earlier in June and was the guest of honor at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
In an interview with TASS ahead of the trip, Xi called Putin his “best and bosom friend,” adding he cherished their “deep friendship.”
While in Russia, Xi visited Moscow Zoo with Putin, which received two Chinese giant pandas as part of “research cooperation.”
The two leaders also met in April during the Belt and Road Summit in Beijing. They often praise their relationship and have met more than 30 times since 2013.
China is Russia’s largest trading partner, far ahead of the United States and any European countries, with bilateral trade volume exceeding $100 billion.