Xi calls for closer China-Russia cultural bond

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Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday night threw his weight behind China-Russia cultural exchanges in a bid to forge a closer cultural bond between the two nations.

Cultural exchanges are a future-oriented project, Xi said in a meeting here with a group of Russian sinologists, Chinese-learning students and media representatives.

Noting that Russia is one of the first countries that started sinological studies and is now a world leader in this area, Xi said it is thanks to the long-running cultural interaction and integration that the bilateral friendship is deep-rooted and ever-growing.

He attached particular importance to the friendship between the young generations of the two countries, saying the two sides should carry out more exchange and communication programs to help them enhance mutual understanding and forge a heart-to-heart connection.

China and Russia have agreed to bring the total number of their overseas students in each other's countries to 100,000 by 2020, said the Chinese president.

Both China and Russia are great nations with time-honored history, and they should always be friends and never be enemies, he said, adding that the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and the Russian cause of national development are mutually compatible and supportive.

Xi thanked the participants for their contribution to the China-Russia friendship, and pledged to seriously consider their suggestions on further improving Mandarin teaching, contemporary China studies as well as media and cultural exchanges.

Also on Saturday, Peng Liyuan, Xi's wife, visited a local boarding school for orphans, where she watched a singing, dancing and acrobatic performance by the students and wished them a healthy and happy life.

She also visited the Alexander Red-Flag Song and Dance Troupe of the Russian Armed Forces, which has performed for many times in China. Saying that music has no national boundaries, she urged the troupe to contribute more to bilateral cultural ties and friendship.

Russia was the first leg of Xi's maiden foreign trip as president, which would also take him to Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of the Congo.

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