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President Hu Starts Visit to Russia
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Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Moscow on Monday afternoon for a three-day state visit to Russia, in his first overseas trip since China's new leadership took office in March.

During his stay in Russia, Hu will exchange views with Russian President Vladimir Putin on cementing bilateral ties and important international issues. He is also expected to meet Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Chairman of Federation Council (upper house) Sergei Mironov, as well as Chairman of State Duma (lower house) Gennady Seleznev.

In addition, Hu will take part in the third summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states to be held in Moscow, and the celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Petersburg.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, launched in June 2001, groups China, Russia, and the four Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

In a written statement released at the airport, Hu said that the peoples of Russia and China have maintained friendship for long and both of them cherish the wish to develop long-term, stable and friendly relations.

He said that over the past 10 years, with concerted efforts, relations between China and Russia have seen considerable progress and risen to a new level.

The idea of maintaining friendship for generations, which was defined in the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, has taken deep root in the mind of the peoples of two countries, Hu said, adding that China and Russia have become good neighbors, good friends and good partners.

The social, political and economic foundation for the Sino-Russian strategic cooperative partnership is becoming increasingly solid and such a relationship holds vast prospects for development, the Chinese president said.

The historic task faced by the two countries is to further strengthen and develop the good-neighborly friendship and cooperation in various fields and open up a new prospect for the development of bilateral ties for the benefit of both countries and their peoples.

Following the trip to Russia, President Hu will travel to Evian, France, for informal talks between leaders from some of the world's rich and poor nations. After that, Hu will travel to Kazakhstan and Mongolia for state visits.

(Xinhua News Agency May 26, 2003)

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