VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, March 21 (Xinhua) -- China and Russia have pledged here to further interregional cooperation with each other and signed a series of cooperation deals.
Governor of Russia's Primorsky Territory Sergey Mikhaylovich Darkin and visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met here Saturday and exchanged views on the development of bilateral ties and cooperation between neighboring regions of the two countries.
Xi told Darkin making the Primorsky Territory the first leg of his Russian tour was to boost the interregional cooperation between China and Russia to a wider and deeper level, as agreed by leaders of both sides.
Conditions were already mature for the development of interregional cooperation between the two countries, Xi said.
While the settlement of border issues and the approval of a cooperation plan outline had laid a political and legal basis for cooperation, the strong will of working hand in hand by the government and enterprises on both sides was also making it possible, the Chinese leader said.
Xi said, as both economies were developing quickly, he hoped China and Russia could seize the opportunity to obtain early achievements through interregional cooperation, and to realize the upgrading of the strategy for such cooperation to bring benefits to people living in the bordering areas.
Darkin said the Primorsky Territory, as China's closest neighbour, had achieved in recent years closer trade and economic ties with China's northeast border region.
The governor said Chinese companies were welcome to invest in the Primorsky Territory and to see it as a bridge for their products to reach Europe.
He also expected both sides to further cooperation in such areas as agriculture, energy, finance and service industries.
Later in the day, China and Russia signed 15 cooperation documents totalling 1.6 billion U. S. dollars covering economic, technological, energy and infrastructure cooperation.
The agreements were signed after Xi held a meeting on strengthening China-Russia interregional cooperation, known as the symposium on China-Russia Ussuriysk economic and trade cooperation area.
At the meeting, Xi heard reports given by top leaders from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, China's Heilongjiang Province and Wenzhou City and Chinese enterprises.
Xi said Russia's Far East area and China's northern frontier provinces were important trading partners and should enhance bilateral cooperation.
This would not only promote economic and social development and improve the livelihoods of people in the neighboring regions, but also inject powerful energy into the development of the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries, he said.
At the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Xi arrived in Vladivostok on 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.
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.