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Friendly Exchanges with Russia, India Unveiled
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Chinese President Hu Jintao Saturday congratulated the start of "the Year of Russia" in China, and announced the launching of the Sino-Indian Friendship Year today.

'Year of Russia' in China

In his New Year message, President Hu said China will launch "the Year of Russia" in 2006 and Russia will hold "the Year of China" in 2007. As a pioneering project, these activities will greatly stimulate the comprehensive development of Sino-Russian relations, Hu said.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the upcoming "Year of Russia". "We will cooperate closely with our Russian counterparts, make careful preparations and spare no efforts in implementing the program, so as to ensure the event becomes a complete success," the president said.

In his message, President Hu said that China and Russia are one another's largest neighbors, and it is their common choice to achieve good neighborliness.

As strategic partners, cooperation and development are the common tasks of the two countries, Hu said.

Both being permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia share joint responsibilities to maintain peace and stability in the region and the world at large, the Chinese leader noted.

In recent years, following the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, China and Russia have gained significant achievements in enhancing political mutual trust, strategic cooperation and traditional friendship, President Hu said.

He hoped the two countries would continue to join hands in the new year, to further strengthen bilateral exchanges and cooperation, so as to push the neighborly friendship and strategic cooperation between the two countries to a new level.

In his congratulatory message, Russian President Putin said that in the past 2005, the increasing mutual trust and rapid development of cultural and economic cooperation of the two nations reached a new high.

He pointed out that Sino-Russian strategic cooperative partnership has played an important role in keeping global peace and security, and helping to build an equitable multipolar world.

As the first guideline for the two countries to cooperate in various fields, the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation is being implemented smoothly, the president said.

He said "the Year of Russia" in China and "the Year of China" in Russia are part of the efforts to further strengthen the two sides' strategic cooperative partnership on the basis of mutual respect and trust.

The Russian president also expressed his belief that "the Year of Russia" in China will provide new opportunities for both countries to further expand bilateral cooperation, and benefit peoples of the two countries.

Sino-Indian Friendship Year

President Hu Jintao and his Indian counterpart Abdul Kalam exchanged congratulations Sunday on the launching of the Sino-Indian Friendship Year and vowed to further develop the bilateral ties and boost cooperation in 2006.

China and India are good neighbors with a long-standing friendship between the two peoples, said Hu in his congratulatory message.

The Sino-Indian relations have been pushed to higher levels thanks to joint efforts of the two countries since they established diplomatic relations, Hu said.

The establishment of the Sino-Indian strategic cooperative partnership oriented to peace and prosperity in 2005 marked a new stage for the development of the bilateral ties, and the declaration on setting the year 2006 as Sino-Indian Friendship Year demonstrated the common aspiration of the two governments and two peoples to strengthen good-neighborly relations, expand mutually-beneficial cooperation and boost common development, Hu said.

In the year 2006, China will take the Sino-Indian Friendship Year as an opportunity to boost the traditional Sino-Indian friendship, expand bilateral dialogues, exchanges and cooperation in various fields to enrich the contents of bilateral ties and push forward the development of the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership, Hu said.

Kalam said in his message that the far-reaching historic and cultural exchanges between the two ancient civilizations of India and China have greatly contributed to the civilization of human beings.

The leaders of India and China jointly initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence over 50 years ago, Kalam noted.

Kalam said India was satisfied with the remarkable progress achieved in the bilateral relations with China during the recent years, and that the establishment of bilateral strategic cooperative partnership oriented to peace and prosperity showed the determination of both sides to seek cooperation and paved way for bringing the bilateral ties to a new high.

The launching of the Sino-Indian Friendship Year is a landmark in the history of bilateral relations and India looks forward to taking the Friendship Year as an opportunity to further deepen and enrich the bilateral relations, he said.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh also exchanged congratulatory messages over the Sino-Indian Friendship Year on Sunday.

(Xinhua News Agency January 1, 2006)

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