MOSCOW, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Russia-China cooperation had actively progressed in various fields in recent years and would continuously move forward under the guidance of Russian leaders and China's new leadership, a high-ranking Russian legislator has said.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Alexander Zhukov, deputy chairman of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, also said China's new leadership is "of high competence."
"The most important thing is the Chinese leaders' devotion to developing the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia," Zhukov said, noting a "full-fledged Russia-China friendship will be further developed in that direction."
Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to pay a state visit to Russia starting on March 22. This will be Xi's first visit abroad since last year's national congress of the Communist Party of China and the just-concluded "two sessions."
Zhukov was Russia's deputy prime minister for nearly eight years starting in March 2004. During the period, he was in charge of cultural and educational exchanges in Russia.
"People-to-people exchanges, in the first place, has developed actively under the guidance of both sides' highest leaders," said Zhukov.
He praised an official exchange programme, which includes language fluency competitions, forums of presidents from prominent universities and exchange of students between the two countries during summer vacations.
Zhukov said these events, held under the regular meeting mechanism between Chinese and Russian prime ministers, is "a nice tradition" and will help build "positive connections" between younger generations of the two countries and ensure a long-term friendship.
The senior legislator also said parliamentary communication between Russia and China, "an important part of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination," was also fruitful.
"Various topics have been discussed between Russian MPs and our Chinese colleagues, which contributes a lot to the development of bilateral ties," he said.
In terms of Russia-China sports cooperation, Zhukov, also the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, said Russia was satisfied with its cooperation with China on sports.
"We are waiting for our Chinese colleagues and friends to come to Kazan, Moscow and most importantly, Sochi," Zhukov said, referring to the 27th World University Games this July, the 14th World Athletics Championships in August and 22nd Winter Olympic Games in February, 2014, respectively.
Zhukov also said the Russia-China Tourism Years were "a forward-looking decision made by the leaders," and would provide the two peoples with a closer look at each other's culture.
"The Russian Tourism Year in China in 2012 was very successful," Zhukov said, adding the Chinese Tourism Year in Russia, to be opened soon, would further promote local tourism and bilateral understandings.
According to Zhukov, preliminary figures showed the number of Russian visitors to China jumped 40 percent in 2012.
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