|A guard of honor gets ready for the welcoming ceremony for visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Moscow, capital of Russia, March 22, 2013. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow Friday for a state visit to Russia.(Xinhua/Ding Lin)|
MOSCOW, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow Friday for a state visit to Russia, the first foreign trip after he became China's president last week.
During his visit, Xi will hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on the development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and major regional and world issues.
Xi will also meet Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other Russian leaders.
According to Chinese Foreign Ministry officials, Xi is scheduled to give a speech at a Moscow university and attend the launch ceremony of a memorial to the Sixth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which was held in Moscow in 1928. He will also visit the Russian Defense Ministry and meet Russian sinologists, Chinese-learning students and representatives from the press.
On Friday, Xi and Putin are expected to attend the opening ceremony of the "Tourism Year of China" in Russia, which is part of the "China-Russia Tourism Year."
The "China-Russia Tourism Year", which began last year with the "Tourism Year of Russia" in China, is the third theme year following the "China-Russia National Year" and the "China-Russia Year of Language" held in recent years in the two countries.
Xi's Moscow trip, the first by the new Chinese leader soon after taking office, indicates that China places great importance on its ties with Russia.
In a joint interview Tuesday with reporters from the BRICS bloc, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Xi said that his visit to Russia shows the high level and special nature of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.
"The fact that I will visit Russia, our friendly neighbor, shortly after I became China's president, is a testimony to the great importance China places on its relations with Russia," Xi said.
Both China and Russia have attached special importance to Xi's state visit to Russia.
Talking with Putin over phone on March 14 upon his election as Chinese president, Xi said he was looking forward to meeting Putin during his visit and exchanging views with him on ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation as well as on major regional and international affairs.
Xi also said he believed his visit to Russia would inject new vigor into the development of Russia-China relations.
Putin said Russia was making active efforts to prepare for Xi's visit, and expressed the belief that the visit would further promote bilateral cooperation and humanistic exchanges as well as strengthen bilateral ties.
The China-Russia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership has developed steadily in recent years. Political mutual trust has kept increasing, pragmatic cooperation in all fields has yielded fruits, and the two sides have maintained close communication and coordination on international and regional affairs.
In 2012, bilateral trade reached a record high of 88 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 11 percent over the previous year.
Last month, China and Russia have reached an important consensus on boosting oil trade, marking major progress in China-Russia energy cooperation.
The Chinese and Russian governments endorsed their respective enterprises' negotiations on gas supplies to be delivered via an east pipeline, with Russia set to deliver 38 billion cubic meters of gas each year to China.
The two sides will continue feasibility research on liquefied natural gas cooperation using the east line, as well as gas to be supplied via a west line.
The two countries are working to boost bilateral trade, with the goals of reaching 100 billion dollars by 2015 and 200 billion dollars by 2020.
After the Russia trip, Xi will fly to the African continent for a state visit to Tanzania, South Africa, and the Republic of the Congo.
In South Africa, Xi will also attend the fifth BRICS summit in the port city of Durban on March 26-27, the first to be held on the African continent. Leaders of the BRICS countries will also have a retreat with African leaders.
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