Years of China, Russia boost ties

Updated: 2007-03-25 10:19

MOSCOW -- The Year of Russia in China has just finished, the Year of China in Russia just started, but senior officials say the reciprocal years have given the partnership between the two countries a new impetus.

Last year was the Year of Russia in China, where some 300 events covered politics, the economy, trade, culture and education. The exhibitions, cultural festivals and media events showcased the richness of Russia's history, the diversity of its culture and the country's economic achievements.

The Chinese and Russian leaders attended the opening and closing ceremonies.

Over 500,000 Chinese were directly involved in the festivities, which drew a television audience of hundreds of millions.

Speaking to foreign reporters in Moscow in December, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who chairs the Russian organizing committee, hailed the Year of Russia in China as a complete success.

Medvedev said the the event had achieved its goals and highlighted the level and scope of cooperation between Russia and China.

"The bilateral exchanges in the framework of the Year of Russia in China were not confined to the capital cities but were extended to other regions in the two countries," he said.


On New Year's Eve, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged congratulatory messages and announced the start of the Year of China in Russia. President Hu will visit Russia on March 26-28 and is expected to attend the opening ceremony with Putin.

This year in Russia, nearly 200 festivities, including some 10 national-level events, are planned that will cover a wide range of fields such as politics, economy, science, culture and education.

In Moscow, a Chinese national exhibition will be held from March 26-29. It will be the biggest overseas exhibition China has held overseas in almost three decades. A year-long cultural festival is also planned.

A business forum and an investment conference will also be organized to boost cooperation in trade, investment and energy.

Russian officials have said they are confident that the Year of China will be as successful as the Year of Russia. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the Year of China will be pragmatic and varied and vowed his government would work to make it a success.


Chinese Ambassador to Russia Liu Guchang said last month that the bilateral events, which are the first of their kind, aimed to help the people of both countries understand each other, to boost pragmatic cooperation and facilitate the development of their strategic partnership.

During the Year of Russia in China, the two countries promoted cooperation in the political, economic, scientific and humanitarian fields and coordination in international and regional affairs, significantly improving their relationship.

At meetings between Chinese and Russian leaders, both sides found much common ground on bilateral ties and major international and regional issues and increased understanding and mutual support on issues concerning sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.

Trade between China and Russia hit a record 33.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2006, up 15 percent from the previous year, according to data released by the Chinese Commerce Ministry.

Russia is now the eighth largest trade partner of China and China is Russia's fourth largest trade partner.

Chinese investment in Russia, excluding the financial sector, reached 470 million dollars last year, up 132 percent on 2005. Russian investment in the manufacturing, construction and transportation industries in China last year topped 230 million dollars.

Border trade between the two countries rose 25 percent to 7 billion dollars last year.

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