Vice President Xi Jinping on Friday expressed his confidence that the upcoming "China-Russia Tourism Year" will be a "full success" with joint efforts from both countries.
Xi made the remark while meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, who came to Beijing to celebrate the beginning of the "Year of Russian Tourism" with Vice Premier Wang Qishan.
An opening ceremony for the year-long tourism initiative was held Friday evening. The "Year of Chinese Tourism" will kick off next year.
Xi said the decision to hold the year-long initiative was an "important consensus" made between the two heads of state. The "China-Russia Tourism Year" is the third theme year to be held following the "China-Russia National Year" and the "China-Russia Year of Language" held in 2006 and 2009, respectively.
"The year is of great importance for revealing the two countries' natural and cultural landscapes, boosting personnel exchanges, deepening the two peoples' traditional friendship and facilitating economic growth," Xi said.
China is ready to work closely with Russia to make arrangements for the activities that will be held as part of the initiative, he added.
Xi said the healthy and stable growth of bilateral relations serves as a key factor for speeding up the development of both countries, as well as a positive factor for maintaining regional and world peace.
He hailed the current growth momentum of China-Russia relations, citing political mutual trust and support, frequent high-level visits, rapid trade growth and close coordination in global affairs.
"China hopes to work closely with Russia to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state and enhance cooperation in multiple fields in order to boost bilateral cooperation to new heights," he said.
Surkov, who is also the Russian chairman for the tourism year, extended congratulations to China for the success of annual sessions of its legislature and political advisory body.
Surkov said the whole world, including Russia, is paying close attention to China's development and achievement.
Surkov fully agreed with Xi's views on China-Russia ties and the bilateral tourism initiatives. He said Russia is committed to developing its relations with China and boosting bilateral cooperation in areas such as technological innovation and tourism.
Vice Premier Wang Qishan is the Chinese chairman for the tourism year.
Surkov is visiting China from Friday to Sunday at the invitation of the Chinese government. It is his first visit to China and the first inter-governmental high-level visit held between China and Russia in 2012.
Over 200 events are scheduled to be held during the "Year of Russian Tourism," according to the Foreign Ministry.