Former Obama Adviser Suggests Trump Is Russia's 'Chief Advocate' and Defender

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World leaders pose for a photo during the 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Qingdao, China, June 10, 2018.

The most powerful Russian and Chinese leaders in decades, Putin and Xi have forged closer ties as US President Donald Trump has labelled both countries economic rivals that challenge US interests and values.

Putin, speaking to reporters in Qingdao, China, where he attended a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, says Trump has voiced concern about a renewed arms race.

Xi and Putin also vowed to make "all possible efforts" to preserve the 2015 global accord on Iran's nuclear programme that Trump abandoned last month.

"As for Russia's return to the G7, G8 - we never left it", he said.

"Both share scepticism towards American hegemony and distrust USA intentions, both are authoritarian personalistic rulers", he said.

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Although G7 leaders ignored US President Donald Trump's proposal to invite back Moscow into the club, Putin said he would be happy to be readmitted.

"The U.S. president has repeatedly said that it's reasonable to hold such a meeting", he said.

President Vladimir Putin flew into Beijing where he was welcomed by Chinese Premier Xi Jingping.

Xi presented the medal described by the official media as the "highest state honour of China" at a special ceremony at the Great Hall of People during which he expressed his respect and admiration for Putin's contributions and efforts to building a peaceful world.

He emphasised that the bloc's members, who also include China, four ex-Soviet Central Asian nations, as well as India and Pakistan, are anxious about the United States move.

Hours before he boarded Air Force One to fly to Quebec for the G7 meeting, U.S. President Donald Trump launched a series of fresh salvos at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and called on Russian Federation to be readmitted to the exclusive club of leading industrial nations.

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Before departing for the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Que., the U.S., Trump called on the G7 leaders to let Russian Federation back in. "It would require consensus to bring Russian Federation back and that consensus will just not happen", he said in 2015.

Putin said Iran has cooperated well in the SCO as an observer and that Russian Federation supports Iran's full membership to the organization.

China also expects to enhance its anti-terrorism cooperation with Pakistan, Xi said.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, whose country is an observer member, also attended the meeting as he seeks Chinese and Russian support following the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani walks to his vehicle after walking out from the airplane upon his arrival at Qingdao Liuting International Airport, Shandong province, China, June 8, 2018.

Trump talks tariffs, NAFTA and G7 relationships as he leaves summit early
He later said that Russia's return to the group would be "an asset" and that it would be a good move for peace in the world. The spat has financial markets anxious about tit-for-tit escalation that could lead to a full-blown global trade war.

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