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Interview: Cultural exchanges bring Chinese, Russians closer: Chinese ambassador

The deepening of cultural exchanges has brought China and Russia even closer, according to Chinese ambassador to Russia Li Hui.

"Development of people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Russia has played an irreplaceable role in promoting their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination," Li said in an interview with Xinhua.

Li said the decision of Chinese and Russian leaders to hold reciprocal tourism year events in each other's country in 2012 and 2013 would elevate bilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation to a higher level.

"Tourism cooperation would further mutual understanding and traditional friendship between the two peoples, which is of significance to our upcoming comprehensive cooperation in various areas, such as tourism, the economy and culture," Li said.

The "Tourism Year of Russia" is scheduled to open at the end of March in Beijing, while the "Tourism Year of China" will be launched in 2013 in Russia.

The two counties have witnessed steady development of bilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation over the last two decades.

In late 1990s and early 2000s, the two countries gradually revitalized cultural cooperation which had relatively lagged behind other areas of the bilateral relationship, Li said.

"Taking the opportunity of the bilateral National Years, the two countries worked in a continued effort to promote their cultural cooperation through holding a series of cultural events, including the Chinese Cultural Festival in Russia," Li said.

Last year, the two countries also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation.

All these events have facilitated closer cultural ties between the two countries, Li said.

He said several factors had contributed to the development of Sino-Russian cultural exchanges and cooperation.

"First, the high level development of the Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has created a favorable atmosphere and conditions for our bilateral cultural exchanges," Li said.

The two leaders also attached great importance to the exchanges, Li said, adding various bilateral cooperative committees and their regular meetings had created a safeguard mechanism for the exchanges.

In addition, the participation of media, civil society groups and the people of the two countries had laid a solid social foundation for the exchanges and left broad room for further development, Li said.

Looking forward, Li expected future cultural cooperation to adapt to the development of the Sino-Russian relations, enrich the cooperation content and perfect the mechanism.

The two sides could tap their potential in region-to-region cultural exchanges and trade of cultural products, Li said.

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