Xi said China's "highest honour" is bestowed on foreigners who have made "outstanding contributions" to the country's modernisation drive and helped maintain world peace.
The two countries have announced trade and investment agreements building on a pledge to strengthen ties.
Putin was given a formal state welcome at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing on Friday before sitting down for talks with Xi.
On the June 12 summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, Bloomberg reported Mr Putin said both Russian Federation and China agreed on the need for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The two heads of state also exchanged views on issues of common concern including the situation on the Korean Peninsula and Iran nuclear issue.
President Xi Jinping on Friday awarded China's first friendship medal to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as the two leaders firmed up their alliance amid mounting U.S. diplomatic and economic pressure on them.
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He said the Chinese president was the only state leader to have celebrated his birthday with him, with the pair sharing vodka and sausage.
China and Russian Federation reiterate their determination to engage in counter-terrorism cooperation and abandon politicization and "double standards", and agree to advocate establishing an global united front against terrorism, it said.
Both he and Mr Xi also held talks in the Chinese capital, where they hailed the close ties between their countries and discussed the upcoming US-North Korea summit, as well as the Iran nuclear deal. "But he is also a very dependable man to work with".
Professor Zhu Feng, director of Nanjing University's Institute of International Studies, also said the award was a clear signal to the USA that if it increased pressure on both countries, it would mean both China and Russian Federation would have no choice but to increase cooperation so they can jointly deal with Washington.
Premier of the State Council of China Li Keqiang said earlier on Friday that China is ready to develop cooperation with Russian Federation both in traditional spheres for the two countries, and in other areas, including nuclear sphere.
"I see this as an acknowledgement and an evaluation of Russia's efforts to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership with China", he said. Xi also stressed the importance of China and Russian Federation working ever closer together as both nations are permanent members of the UN Security Council and therefore must continue to coordinate at ever higher levels in order to establish protocols for peace at the highest levels of multiple global institutions.