China, Russia Solidify Growing Eastern Bloc as Trump Rattles G-7

China, Russia Solidify Growing Eastern Bloc as Trump Rattles G-7

Trump has said he was open to having a summit with Putin, who US intelligence officials have said directed Russian meddling in the 2016 election to help Trump win.

But Trump on Friday called on world leaders to allow Russian Federation back into the G7, the group of leading industrialized democracies.

Putin said: 'The US president has repeatedly said that it's reasonable to hold such a meeting.

He said a meeting could take place as soon as the United States was ready and that many European countries had offered their help in making it happen.

President Xi Jinping gave the leaders of Pakistan and India a "special welcome" to their first summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, since their countries joined the group previous year.

Hours before Donald Trump stunned the G7 with a friendly overture to Russia, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping sealed their status as BFFs.

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

Putin responded: 'It wasn't us who left. Our colleagues once refused to come to Russian Federation due to well-known reasons.

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China and Russian Federation pledged to support each other on key global issues during a summit in Beijing on Friday, as the two sides hailed an "all-time high" in bilateral ties amid strained relations with the US.

The last meeting between Trump and Putin was a brief exchange in Vietnam last November. Tensions mounted between the Trump administration and fellow G7 members Canada, Germany and France when the United States imposed steep tariffs on imported metals from the countries.

Taking stock of the on-going turmoil in war-ridden Afghanistan, Putin said, "It is crucial that we fight the terrorist threat emanating from that country in unison, curb drug production and trafficking and render aid to Afghanistan in its national reconciliation, economic revival and stabilisation".

"But with that being said, Russian Federation should be in this meeting. I think this is most promising format for the future", he added.

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

"We (have) always been clear we should engage with Russian Federation where it is in our interests, but we need to remember why G8 became the G7, it was because Russian Federation illegally annexed Crimea", a European diplomat said Friday.

Commenting on the G-7's statement, Putin said: "It's time to stop that chatter and deal with real issues".

Both leaders also issued a joint declaration pledging to preserve the worldwide accord on Iran's nuclear programme which the USA withdrew from last month.

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