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Xi's visit is important to Sino-Russian relations: vice minister


08:19, March 20, 2013

BEIJING, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping on Tuesday voiced his belief that the new Chinese president's upcoming visit to Russia will inject strong impetus into the Sino-Russian comprehensive and strategic partnership.

Speaking at a press briefing, Cheng said Xi Jinping will visit Russia from March 22 to 24 at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Xi's tight schedule during the one-and-a-half-day trip will include nearly 20 activities, including talks with Putin, meetings with Dmitry Medvedev and other Russian leaders and attending the opening ceremony for the Chinese Tourism Year in Russia, among others.

According to Cheng, Xi's visiting less than one week after becoming president shows that China's new leadership attaches great importance to Sino-Russian relations.

Cheng expressed the hope that the two countries would expand mutual political trust and cooperation in various fields, as well as deepen coordination in international and regional affairs.

According to Chen, leaders of the two sides are expected to sign a manifesto spelling out the directions for the future development of Sino-Russian relations and key cooperation fields between the two countries.

Also on Tuesday, Sergey Razov, Russian ambassador to China, revealed that the Russian side is now rushing to prepare for Xi's visit and is confident that the visit will be a success.

Trade between China and Russia stood at a record-high 88.16 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, up 11.2 percent year on year, and China has been Russia's biggest trade partner for three years running.

According to Razov, companies from the two countries are currently negotiating cooperation plans on natural gas, oil, heavy helicopters and passenger planes.

Also, Chinese tourists visiting Russia increased by 40 percent in 2012 -- the Russian Tourism Year in China, Razov added.

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