BEIJING, Feb. 2 -- Russia, for the second time, will be Chinese President Xi Jinping's first foreign destination of a year.
In March 2013, Xi took a state visit to Russia a few days after he took office as Chinese President.
Xi's announced Russian stay from Feb. 6 to 8 and scheduled attendance to the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games will be his first foreign trip in 2014.
It will also be the first attendance by a Chinese president at a major overseas sports event, signaling China's strong support for the Olympics and Russia's efforts to host the games.
Vladimir Putin, then Russian Prime Minister, attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in August 2008.
Prof. Yuri Tavrovsky at the Moscow-based Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, told Xinhua that it is a new step of bilateral ties that state leaders extend their interactions from traditional diplomatic occasions to less formal ones such as cultural and sports events.
Last year, besides Xi's state visit, the Chinese president and Russian President Putin met four times at international events.
They were the BRICS summit in Durban of South Africa, the G20 summit in St. Petersburg of Russia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan and the informal economic leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Bali of Indonesia.
In addition, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited China in October, holding meetings with President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang.
Li Hui, Chinese ambassador to Russia, told Xinhua that President Xi's state visit last year opened a new page and brought the bilateral relations to a new height.
The two countries have displayed mutual support and understanding on issues that are vital to each other, Ambassador Li said.
As the two neighboring countries mark the 65th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 2014, they are forging stronger and closer ties, under a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
A high-level and strong China-Russia relationship is not only in the interests of both countries, but also serves as an important guarantee of world peace and stability.
China and Russia also worked together on a number of international and regional issues, such as those on Syria and Iran, keeping smooth communication and effective cooperation.