BEIJING - With folk dances and songs, China and Russia Tuesday night celebrated the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin attended the evening gala at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
"Despite ups and downs, China-Russia relations have matured over the past 60 years," Wen said in a speech at the start of the gala.
Russia was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with China, days after the People's Republic of China was founded on October 1, 1949.
The establishment of China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination in 1996 was an important milestone in bilateral relations, Wen said.
With joint efforts, Wen said, bilateral relations have reaped fruitful harvests in various sectors, citing the settlement of the 4,300-kilometer border issue, more than 30 cooperative mechanisms and a bilateral trade volume seven times bigger than six decades ago.
"China-Russia relations have reached a historic high and are marching towards a higher level," Wen said.
Earlier Tuesday, Wen hosted a red-carpet welcome ceremony for Putin, who is on his first official visit to China since taking office in May 2008.They also witnessed the signing of 12 agreements, including agreements on natural gas and oil.
"We should continue to work together to deepen strategic coordination, boost trade and investment growth and enhance the understanding between the two peoples," Wen said.
"Let's work together from a new start point and usher in a better future," Wen said.
The evening gala also marked the end of a half-year-long program, "Year of Russian Language" in China.
During the "Year of Russian Language" in China, the two nations held more than 200 cultural exchange activities in about 20 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China.