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China, Russia boost strategic relations
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By Liao Lei

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is scheduled to pay his first foreign visit to Kazakhstan and China this week. As China is destined to be the first non-Commonwealth of Independent States member country of Medvedev's first tour abroad since he was sworn in on May 7, the visit will mark the importance attached by the two countries to their strategic partnership of cooperation.

Booming bilateral cooperation

During the presidency of Vladimir Putin, Medvedev's predecessor, Chinese-Russian relations were promoted to a historical high.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Putin met five times last year and laid out the blueprint for the development of the strategic partnership of cooperation in the second decade after its birth.

The heads of government and parliament speakers have also frequently exchanged visits, which facilitate the strengthening of mutual trust and bilateral cooperation, observers say.

In the economic sphere, bilateral trade volume surged from 10.67 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 33.39 billion dollars in 2006 and 48.17 billion dollars last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce of China.

The soaring economic figures were also accompanied by an optimized trade structure, booming two-way investment and flourishing cooperation in the border regions, analysts said.

Meanwhile, the two neighboring states hosted theme years for each other in a bid to consolidate bilateral ties, including the Year of Russia in China in 2006 and the Year of China in Russia in2007.

Such theme events promoted substantial cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, energy, culture, education, healthcare, sports, tourism and media.

Medvedev, then first deputy prime minister and Russia's chairman of the theme years' organizing committee, said that such activities were pioneer projects and had yielded remarkable achievements.

Hearing the news on the May 12 deadly earthquake in China's southwestern region that has claimed more than 32,000 lives, Medvedev sent a letter of solace on the same day to the Chinese president, which was followed by four batches of humanitarian aid and rescue teams to the disaster-hit region.

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