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Chinese president meets Russian war veterans

MOSCOW, May 8 (Xinhua) -- President Hu Jintao met Saturday with some Russian soldiers who helped China battle Japanese aggressor troops in the World Anti-Fascist War, and called for further strengthening of China-Russia ties.

Hu arrived here Saturday to attend ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War over Nazi Germany.

Hours after arriving, he met with a group of 20 Russian war veterans and thanked them for their assistance in fighting the Japanese invaders in northeast China in August 1945. He met 10 of the veterans in Moscow five years ago.

The Soviet Union fought 80 percent of the German Fascist forces on the European battleground at a cost of 27 million lives and immeasurable national wealth.

Meanwhile, China's Anti-Japanese War was an important part of the World Anti-Fascist War; China was the main battleground of this war.

At the crucial stage of China's war against Japan, the Soviet Red Army marched into the battleground in northeast China and joined the Chinese army and people, providing important assistance to China's ultimate victory.

During his meeting with the Russian veterans, Hu said the Chinese people would never forget the Soviet Red Army's contributions to the success of China's Anti-Japanese War.

Many Russian soldiers and citizens sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the Chinese people, he said.

Fighting together against the Fascists, the Chinese and Russian peoples forged a profound friendship, he added.

"The friendship cemented with blood and people's lives lays a solid foundation for the China-Russia strategic relations of cooperation and partnership," Hu said.

It would also ensure the friendship between the two peoples will last for generations, he said, urging the two peoples to cherish the hard-won peace.

Hu also called for a correct view of history, saying the Soviet Union and China's contributions to victory in the World Anti-Fascist War are "ironclad."

In addition, he called for strengthened strategic coordination between China and Russia in a complex and volatile international situation.

Hu urged the two countries to jointly propose a new security concept featuring mutual trust and benefit, as well as equality and cooperation.

Although World War II ended 65 years ago, one must never forget the painful lessons of the war, he said.

"We call on the international community to establish and implement the new security concept, boost mutual trust, care for mutual interests, stick to friendly coordination, respect cultural diversification, and jointly seek cooperation and development," he said.

Moreover, Hu said China and Russia should strengthen strategic coordination.

He said that as big world powers and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia bear the responsibility of promoting world multipolarization and the democratization of international politics to establish a more equitable and reasonable new international political order.

The Russian veterans gave exciting accounts of their experiences of fighting Japanese aggressor troops together with Chinese soldiers in northeast China.

Echoing Hu's remarks, the Russian veterans called for closer cooperation between China and Russia, saying they believed the two countries would continue to contribute to world peace and prosperity.

They added that Hu's meeting with them demonstrated the great importance the Chinese government and people attach to Russian-Chinese friendship and the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two nations.

They also expressed their gratitude to Hu for his feelings of friendship towards them, and offered their good wishes to Chinese veterans on Victory Day.

General M. A. Gareev, 87, said he believed that friendship and cooperation between the Russian and Chinese peoples would safeguard world peace and security.

Gareev, who took part in the war liberating the city of Mudanjiang in northeast China in 1945, said that China's war against the Japanese aggressor forces effectively hindered the Japanese from invading the Soviet Union, which was then fighting the invasion of Nazi Germany.

More positive efforts should be made to resist attempts to distort the history of World War II, said Gareev, who is currently president of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences.

President Hu presented each veteran with a peace medal and an album with historical pictures of the Red Army in northeast China in 1940s.

On Sunday, Hu will join other state leaders to watch the huge parade on Moscow's Red Square and wreath-laying ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Hu is also expected to meet Russian leaders on bilateral issues and important global and regional issues.

The Great Patriotic War, an important part of the World Anti-Fascist War, refers to the battles fought by the Soviet Union from June 1941 to May 1945 against Nazi Germany and its allies on the Eastern Front.

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