|Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 6, 2014. Xi will attend the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games here, at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will be the first attendance by a Chinese head of state at an opening ceremony of a major overseas sports event. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)|
SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 6 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Thursday to attend the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.
The sports event will be held from Feb. 7 to Feb. 23 in this Black Sea city.
It will be the first attendance by a Chinese head of state at an opening ceremony of a major overseas sports event.
During Xi's stay in Sochi, Xi will visit China's winter Olympics delegation, meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, leaders of other countries, and heads of international organizations.
Russia, for the second time, is Xi's first foreign destination of a year. Last March, he made a state visit to Russia just over a week after taking office as president.
Xi's Russian stay from Feb. 6 to Feb. 8 and his attendance at the games' opening ceremony is his first foreign trip in 2014.
His visit demonstrates the "high level and uniqueness" of the China-Russia ties, and good working relationship and friendship between leaders of the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui has said.
President Xi will hold talks with Putin on advancing bilateral ties in 2014. Both leaders are expected to exchange views on pushing forward cooperation in big and practical projects and in people-to-people exchanges, as well as on major international and regional issues, said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping a few days ago.
Despite the unfavorable international economic situation, the bilateral trade volume between China and Russia reached nearly 90 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, up 1.1 percent from the previous year.
The two countries have held three theme years in the past few years. The year 2013 was the Tourism Year of China in Russia, which followed the Tourism Year of Russia in China in 2012. Both events aimed to foster tourism ties and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
Before that, there were the China-Russia National Year 2006-2007 and the China-Russia Year of Language 2009-2010.
In 2014 and 2015, the two countries will each host the China-Russia Youth Year of Friendship Exchanges.
China and Russia maintained close contact and efficient coordination on global and regional issues last year and made great efforts to facilitate political solutions to the Syria crisis and the Iran nuclear issue.
China sends a 139-member delegation, including 66 athletes, to the Sochi games.