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Historic Events for Neighbors
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The "Year of China" in Russia and the "Year of Russia" in China are historic events and will lay the groundwork for the development of ties between the two countries, says a leading China scholar in Russia.

"China has really grown by leaps and bounds. Looking at the buildings from a plane, one would find Beijing and Shanghai second to none in the world," Mikhail Titarenko, director of the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua recently.

The 73-year-old academic first visited China in the 1950s to study Chinese at Peking University, and since then has paid many a visit to the country.

"China-Russia friendship is of long standing," the scholar said.

"In the past half century, the two countries have witnessed brotherly ties but also shared some bitter memories. Now, Russia and China have established a new, unprecedented relationship based on similar or identical views on international issues, national security and the agreement of strategic interests and objectives of the two countries," Titarenko said.

Russia and China respect each other, interact as equals and enjoy a good relationship, he said. "In recent years, Russians have become increasingly keen on learning more about China." The Chinese language, martial arts and paintings are popular among Russians.

"Of course, some people in Russia still have doubts over the firmness of Russia-China friendship, and that is mainly because of their lack of understanding and the lingering perceptions of the earlier downturn in ties," Titarenko said.

It's good and "wise" for the leaders of the two countries to organize the "Year of China" and the "Year of Russia".

The "Year of Russia" provided a chance to millions of Chinese to see today's changing Russia, and the "Year of China" will help the notion of China being a friendly neighbor take root in Russia, he said.

"Russia and China live as (friendly and good) neighbors. History has proven that only by living in amity and joining forces can we overcome future difficulties." Titarenko said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2007)

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