BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- With folk dances and songs, China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Wednesday unveiled their year-long exchange program, "China-DPRK Friendship Year."
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his DPRK counterpart, Kim Yong Il, attended the premiere of friendship year, together with ministers of foreign affairs, trade and culture of both countries.
"It is of great significance for China and the DPRK to stage the Friendship Year, which coincides with the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations," Wen said in a speech at the start of the gala.
Wen said the DPRK was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with China. The two countries forged diplomatic relations on Oct. 6, 1949, days after the People's Republic of China was founded.
"The exchange program spells out the shared aspiration of both countries to cherish their traditional friendship and commit to good-neighbor cooperation," Wen said.
"With joint efforts, I am convinced that the China-DPRK Friendship Year will reach its expected goals and yield fruitful results," Wen said.
The year-long exchange program will cover a series of cultural events like art performances, photo exhibitions and art shows.
Kim, who was on his first visit to China since taking office in April 2007, said DPRK-China friendship was the common treasure of both nations.
"Our party and government have paid much attention to the bilateral friendship and committed themselves to promoting the development of our traditional friendship," Kim said.
Kim said the DPRK would work with China to make the Friendship Year a success.
Following the leaders' speeches, more than 2,000 people from both countries watched an hour-long gala featuring folk songs and dances from both countries.
During his five-day visit to China, Kim will also meet with other Chinese state leaders.