China and Russia should be friendly partners promoting humanistic cooperation between the two countries through reciprocal theme years, President Hu Jintao said Monday.
The relevant departments of the Chinese and Russian governments have put forward a lot of programs designed to expand cooperation in culture, education, health-care, sports and tourism, Hu said in a five-point proposal made during talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
During Hu's visit to Russia in July 2005, China and Russia agreed to launch the "Year of China" in Russia this year. Various activities held during the "Year of Russia" in China last year drew more than 500,000 Chinese.
Significant progress was made in the development of Sino-Russian relations in 2006, when the two countries celebrated the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation and the first "Year of Russia" was held in China, Hu said.
Putin said the reciprocal theme years held in the two nations have played a constructive role in promoting economic and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
President Hu arrived in Moscow earlier in the day for a three-day state visit. Hu and Putin attended the opening ceremony of the "Year of China" in Russia, and the Chinese president will also meet other Russian leaders and attend activities marking the "Year of China."
On Tuesday, the two leaders will also attend the opening ceremony of a Chinese national exhibition in Moscow, one of the 200 events planned throughout the "Year of China" in Russia and the biggest comprehensive show China has held outside the country in almost three decades.
There will also be a cultural festival, a business forum and an investment conference.
(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2007)