BEIJING, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev exchanged congratulatory messages on New Year's eve on Wednesday, and announced the start of "the Year of the Chinese and Russian Languages."
In his message, Hu said that in 2008, the Sino-Russian relation of strategic and cooperative partnership has mounted a new step thanks to the joint efforts of both sides. Leaders of both nations have kept close contacts, with political mutual trust of the two sides further improved, pragmatic cooperation developed in an all-round way and cultural exchanges constantly expanded, he said.
In the past year, Hu said, both sides carried on their strategic cooperation effectively in dealing with international and regional affairs, vigorously safeguarded common interests of the two countries and played an important part in promoting world peace, stability and development.
China and Russia will embrace the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties in 2009, when China will launch "the Year of Russian Language," while Russia will launch "the Year of Chinese Language" in 2010, the Chinese leader said.
That is another major effort since the successful mutual launches of "the Year of Nations," in a bid to promote friendship in generations and strategic cooperation, Hu added.
In the new year, China would like to work together with Russia to comprehensively implement the agreements and consensus reached by both sides in accordance with the principles set forth in the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, keep on enriching and expanding the strategic meaning of bilateral relations, and push the strategic and cooperative partnership to move forward in a sustained, healthy and steady manner, Hu said.
Medvedev said in his message that the Sino-Russian strategic and cooperative partnership had set up an example for a new form of national relations. The program of the language year serves an important cultural cooperation between the two nations, and will further consolidate the mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and Russian people. He said he believed that with the joint efforts of both sides, Sino-Russian relations would surely further improve.