Opening Ceremony of the Year of China in Russia 2007-03-26 12:20:18 The Kremlin, Russia President Vladimir Putin : Dear Mr President of China Hu Jintao! Ladies and gentlemen! We warmly welcome you to the grand opening of the Year of China in the Russian Federation. This is truly a landmark event for our two countries. Indeed, Russia and China are not simply close neighbors and trustworthy partners, but are two great civilisations, the history and culture of which carry an immense power of mutual cultural and spiritual attraction. And there is no doubt that the rich chronicles of our long-standing relations will receive new striking chapters this year. During the complex political developments in the world, and particularly in the twentieth century, our peoples have always retained sincere respect for one another. Both Russian and Chinese peoples have always known that we are not only destined to live as neighbours but also to cooperate closely in light of each others’ respective experiences. And for many years, our experience has acted as an example of how to build harmonious and equable relations between peoples. Last year, 2006, marked several different anniversaries. We celebrated the tenth anniversary of establishing relations based on equal partnership and strategic cooperation, and the fifth anniversary of signing the Treaty on Good Neighbourly Relations, Friendship and Cooperation. We also celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. All of these events represent significant landmarks in our recent history. And I am confident that both Russia and China equally value these milestones. The decision that President Hu Jintao and I made to carry out large-scale events such as the Year of Russia in China and the Year of the People’s Republic of China in the Russia Federation also holds strategic significance. Experience has shown that this decision was timely, correct and is already yielding its fruit. The project of hosting such events on an unprecedented large-scale was designed to still further increase the quantity and quality of our partnership. And a number of cultural activities, business meetings and exchanges significantly enrich public life in Russia and China. And these events certainly help our citizens better get to know one another while, at the same time, ensuring continuity in our relations. Many of these projects have already been executed today. We are both pleased with the success of the Year of Russia in China. Over 300 events took place within this happening and they covered virtually all areas of our bilateral cooperation. The activities induced hundreds of thousands of our citizens and many of our regions to engage in friendly communication. I would like to once again thank all of our Chinese friends and, first and foremost, President Hu Jintao from the bottom of my heart for their eager participation in these events. This shared success convincingly demonstrated that our historic partnership has a bright future. And the most important thing is that it rests on steady support from both societies. I have no doubt that many of the initiatives in the economic, scientific and cultural spheres that were put forward last year will be developed within the Year of China in Russia that opens today. And the event’s rich programme covers our neighbours’ diverse world: from the cultural and historical heritage of the Middle Kingdom to the present life of the descendants of the great heroes Huang Di and Yan Di. The event’s priorities include further expanding the ties between Russian and Chinese business communities. Tomorrow a Chinese national exhibition will open in Moscow along with various business forums and conferences. The programme of the Year of China in Russia contains famous theatre productions, musical evenings, art exhibitions and meetings between both countries’ academics. Unique Chinese culture generously provided new creative images and impressions for both Russian and foreign artists, musicians and architects. The Chinese Book of Changes states that similar voices echo each other and that similar characters are attracted to one another. And despite the singularity of both of our cultures we nevertheless have many common features. Dear friends! Today, as we open the Year of China in Russia, we are beginning the ascension towards new heights in our partnership. Ancient Chinese wisdom states that: “if the root is shallow then the branches cannot grow strong”. It must be said that the excellent tree, the metaphor of our joint efforts to develop our relations over the past few years, reflects the depth and strength of the friendship between our two peoples. I am convinced that this strong friendship will underlie our joint work. I would like to once again welcome all those who came to this ceremony. And I congratulate all the citizens of our great countries on the opening of the Year of China in Russia from the heart. Thank you for your attention. Chinese President Hu Jintao: Dear President Putin! Ladies and Gentlemen! Friends! I am exceedingly happy to be able to visit Russia – a good neighbour of China’s – again during such a magnificent season and to participate in the opening ceremony of the Year of China in Russia with President Putin. I would like to use this opportunity to convey my most heartfelt congratulations and warmest wishes to the friendly Russian government and people on behalf of the government of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese people. Russia is a great country and the Russian people are a great people. Throughout history, the hard-working, courageous and wise Russian people have made an outstanding contribution to the development of world civilization and human progress. And this contribution was more than simply the result of an ancient history and a brilliant culture, it was also the result of a glorious, titanic struggle. Over the past few years and under President Putin’s leadership the country’s economy has developed at a fast rate. The population’s life is improving with each passing day. Russia plays a significant role in international and regional affairs and commands respect from the international community. The government and people of China, a good neighbour and a strategic partner, are sincerely happy with these developments. We wish Russia prosperity and power and wish Russia’s people new successes in the rebirth of their nation. Russia and China are united by rivers and mountains. The friendship between our peoples has a long historical tradition. Bilateral ties have developed steadily since we established relations based on partnership and strategic cooperation. We have achieved a number of major results. Being good neighbours, best friends and responsible partners is not only a reflection of the good will between our peoples. It is also a necessary product of our desire to protect both of our countries’ national interests. It was in this context that we decided, together with President Putin, to host the years of China and Russia. We believe that implementing such an initiative helped strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between our countries and peoples and helped ensure the steady development of long-term Chinese-Russian partnership and strategic cooperation. Our initiative is justified by the remarkable success of the Year of Russia in China. The Year of Russia in China was marked with outstanding events – more than 300 of them – and by the real involvement of our citizens. This event was rightly considered an unprecedented event in the history of our bilateral relations and acts as a new stimulus for the development of Chinese-Russian partnership and cooperation. This year the so-called Year of China will be held in Russia. Around two hundred different events in political, economic, scientific, technical, educational and cultural spheres are planned. I would like to express my hope that these events will give the Russian people a better understanding of Chinese history and culture, of China’s new openness and reforms we have implemented. This will undoubtedly help strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between our countries and peoples, as well as deepen exchanges and cooperation in all areas. This ultimately strengthens the peace-loving idea of a Chinese-Russian friendship to be passed on from generation to generation in the hearts of our citizens, and will give a new stimulus to the long-term steady development of Russian-Chinese partnership and strategic cooperation. We are ready to work together with our Russian friends and to use events such as hosting national years as a unique opportunity for a comprehensive implementation of the Treaty on Good Neighbourly Relations, Friendship and Cooperation. We do this with a view to strengthening mutually advantageous cooperation and strategic cooperation in the name of common development and prosperity. Let us work together to build a lasting peace, one in which universal prosperity and blessed harmony reign! I wish our countries and peoples eternal friendship!