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Sino-Russian ties rise to unprecedented high level
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This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia diplomatic relations, and the last six decades have witnessed abundant accomplishment of practical cooperation between the two countries and enhanced cooperation on international issues.

As friendly neighbors sharing common borders, China and Russia have unswervingly given emphasis to reinforcing political trust and coordination while developing bilateral ties.

After the establishment of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership of cooperation in 1996, the two countries upgraded bilateral relations and set up a mechanism for regular high-level visits, through which leaders from both countries can effectively communicate and understand each other through frequent meetings and talks.

Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a visit to Russia in June, when he and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev attended a celebration to commemorate the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.

The China-Russia relationship has gone through an extraordinary course of development during the past 60 years, which also saw increasingly mature bilateral political relations, Hu said in his speech.

China and Russia, which are permanent members of the UN Security Council, are facing the top task of domestic development and also shoulder the historic mission of promoting world peace and development, Hu added.

China and Russia hold the same or similar stances on a number of major global issues such as the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in the Middle East and in Iran.

The two countries have also conducted effective collaboration under multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations.

Within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China and Russia have made great achievements in joint combats against terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as against drug trafficking.

China and Russia in July conducted the Peace Mission-2009 joint anti-terror military exercises, the third of its kind, demonstrating the high-level bilateral military cooperation.

The rapid development of economic and trade cooperation has enriched the China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation. Bilateral trade increased by 10-fold in the past decade, standing at a record 56.8 billion US dollars in 2008.

One of the key fields of Sino-Russian economic cooperation, the energy sector, has seen major breakthroughs this year.

Russia's State Duma, the lower house of parliament, approved in July a Russia-China inter-governmental agreement on oil cooperation, which was signed by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan in April.

A package of oil cooperation deals on pipeline construction, oil trade and loans that Russia and China inked in February took effect after the signing of the inter-governmental agreement.

Under the agreement, China and Russia will jointly build and operate the pipeline from Russia's Siberian city of Skovorodino to China's northeastern city of Daqing. The pipeline goes through the border city of Mohe in northeast China.

The pipeline, with an annual transmission capacity of 15 million tons of crude to China in the next 20 years, is expected to go into operation in October 2010.

China and Russia have also made progress in eradicating illegal practices such as "grey customs clearance" that have been hampering the healthy development of bilateral trade.

Cultural cooperation is an indispensable component under the framework of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership of cooperation.

Upon proposals by the leaders of the two countries, China and Russia have staged reciprocal theme-year activities, with "Year of Russia" in China in 2006 and "Year of China" in Russia in 2007.

To further consolidate this cultural cooperation, the two countries decided to hold the "Year of Russian Language" in China in 2009 and the "Year of Chinese Language" in Russia in 2010.

Alexander Zhukov, Russia's deputy prime minister, said in Beijing in March when attending the opening ceremony of the "Year of Russian Language" that the event would promote mutual understanding and trust between the two peoples and advance bilateral cooperation.

China and Russia have so far conducted a series of influential educational events during the "Year of Russian Language" in China. More than 260 activities, most of which educational, have been staged throughout China.

Both countries have promoted the implementation of agreements concerning educational cooperation and language learning, and have increased the number of students and researchers sent to each other's universities. More than 18,000 Chinese are studying in Russia and nearly 9,000 Russians are being educated now in China.

The two countries also plan to establish more Russian language centers in China and more Confucius Institutes in Russia.

After the devastating earthquake that claimed tens of thousands of lives in China's southwest Sichuan Province in May 2008, Russia immediately offered help to China with timely aid, rescue workers and medical teams.

In a move embodying the profound friendship between the two peoples, a total of 1,570 Chinese children from the quake-hit regions were invited to Russian resorts for rehabilitation between2008 and 2009.

A summer camp program that invites some 1,000 Russian primary and secondary school students to China will also be organized next year based on a consensus reached between President Hu and Medvedev.

(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2009)

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