VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, March 20 (Xinhua) -- At the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping arrived here Saturday for a five-day official visit to Russia.
In a written statement upon his arrival, Xi said that China and Russia are friendly neighbors and close strategic partners of coordination, adding that the Chinese government and the Communist Party of China highly value the growth of China-Russia ties.
Xi said he believes his visit will "cement the mutual political trust, deepen cooperation with mutual benefit, strengthen cooperation between political parties of both countries, and advance the all-round and rapid growth of the strategic partnership of coordination of the two countries."
Russia is the first leg of Xi's four-nation Europe tour, which will also take him to Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
During his stay in Russia, Xi, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, will meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and Putin, who is also chairman of the ruling United Russia party, and State Duma Chairman Boris Gryzlov.
They will exchange views on bilateral relations and other regional and international issues of common concern.
Xi is also expected to attend the opening ceremony of the Year of the Chinese Language in Russia as well as the opening of the second round of strategic dialogue between Chinese and Russian ruling parties.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said earlier that the Year of the Chinese Language in Russia will promote mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and Russian peoples and enhance their cultural cooperation.
"The visit is an important diplomatic action of China. China attaches high importance to relations with the four countries, and our relations with them are developing smoothly," Qin said.
At a press conference for the upcoming Year of the Chinese Language held in Moscow on Wednesday, Li Hui, Chinese ambassador to Russia, said the language year would be conducive to nurturing language talents and deepening the bilateral relationship.
China held the Year of the Russian Language in 2009, and this year's reciprocation in Russia is an effort to further consolidate the bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation.
Li said earlier that the Year of the Chinese Language, with its many events, would write a new page in China-Russia ties and elevate bilateral relations to a new high.
Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Denisov and Mikhail Titarenko, chairman of the Russia-China Friendship Association, said the frequent high-level exchanges in 2009, joint celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Russia-China diplomatic ties and the success of the Year of the Russian Language had played a key role in deepening bilateral relations.
They expressed the belief that bilateral relations would maintain a sound development in 2010 and a series of grand events, including the Year of the Chinese Language, would further boost their bilateral ties.
China has been Russia's biggest trading partner since February last year. Sino-Russian trade reached its peak in 2008, with trade volume hitting a record 58.8 billion U.S. dollars.
However, the volume was dragged down by the global economic downturn last year, falling 31.8 percent year on year to 38.8 billion dollars.
Their trade surged 67.9 percent on an annual basis in the first two months of 2010, bringing it close to the pre-crisis level.