ST. PETERSBURG, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The China-Russia Youth Year of Friendship Exchanges was launched here on Friday, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin both sending congratulatory message to the event.
In his message, Xi said the China-Russia Youth Year will advance the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in a sustainable way, cultivate lasting friendship and enhance pragmatic cooperation in various areas.
Putin, for his part, said that the youth-themed year will boost youth interactions, enhance traditional friendship between two peoples and deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets attended the opening ceremony.
Earlier in the day, Liu and Golodets signed a plan for a series of exchange activities in the coming two years as they co-hosted a joint meeting of the organizing committee of the Youth Year.
"The holding of the China-Russia Year of Youth Exchanges has demonstrated the strong determination for both sides to enhance friendly partnership," Liu said after the meeting.
Liu hoped that youth exchanges will inject new impetus to the bilateral ties.
As part of the Youth Year events, a youth exchange program that involves 100 schools and 10,000 students from both countries and 1 million students of both sides to engage in on-line interactions was also launched on the same day.
During his state visit to Russia in March last year, Xi and Putin agreed to hold the China-Russia Youth Year of Friendship Exchanges in 2014 and 2015, the fourth theme program between the two sides. Since 2006, the two countries have held reciprocal events, namely the Year of Russia in China in 2006, the Year of China in Russia in 2007, and language years in 2009 and 2010, followed by tourism years.