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Russian Ties Warmer
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Three chartered planes full of Chinese business officials and business people accompanied President Hu Jintao on his Russia visit, which began Monday.

Trade will dominate Hu's discussions with Russian leaders. Part of the agenda, Hu launched the Year of China in Russia.

The just-inaugurated Year of China and the 2006 Year of Russia are two massive projects unprecedented in scope. They are of strategic importance in advancing the two countries' ties.

The Year of Russia in China gave millions of Chinese a chance to see a changing Russia. The Year of China will present our big neighbor with a far-reaching picture of this country.

The Year of China exhibition just opened, China's largest ever overseas, includes nearly 200 events, with a cultural festival, business forum and investment conference.

The two countries' efforts to make the events all-embracing are a substantial response to what may be the main problem of bilateral relations. Chinese and Russian leaders are well aware that communication is smooth at the top but insufficient at lower levels.

As a result, trade and investment lag far behind political relations between the two countries.

The inclusiveness of the Year of Russia proved effective in building bilateral ties.

The two countries have vast potential in the trade and economic dimension of their relations. Growth is under way. Bilateral trade hit a record high of US$33.4 billion last year.

The launching of several large projects in fields including energy and high-tech should lead to increased trade.

The two countries' goal of boosting trade volume to US$60 to US$80 billion by 2010 seems attainable.

The mid-term trade and economic cooperation program for the 2006-10 period, which the two countries are working on, will serve as a blueprint for developing economic ties.

China and Russia are now in the warmest period of bilateral relations. They are regularly exchanging opinions on a wide range of regional and international issues, including the Iranian and Korean Peninsula nuclear crises. We look forward to Hu's trip taking bilateral relations to a new level.

(China Daily March 27, 2007)

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