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Chinese, Russian premiers pledge broader cooperation to enhance ties

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed Tuesday to shore up reciprocal and practical cooperation to further consolidate bilateral relations.

Following the 15th regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian heads of government, Wen told a press conference that the latest gathering reinforced the political mutual trust between the two sides and significantly pushed forward bilateral cooperation.

The two premiers reached important consensus on bilateral ties and important global affairs, and were confident that the positive results of the meeting would help inject new energy into the comprehensive development of the China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination, Wen said.

China's modernization poses no harm to the interests of any other country, Wen said, adding that stronger China-Russia collaboration will not only benefit the two countries, but also contribute to regional peace and stability.

The two sides have maintained close coordination on such multilateral platforms as the UN and the Group of 20 major economies, and their cooperation is all-around, Wen said.

China is ready to take part in Russia's efforts to build infrastructure and establish special economic zones, and is delighted to invite more Russian youths to learn the Chinese language or study in China, he added.

Noting that the latest international financial crisis has left a far-reaching fallout, the Chinese premier said that both Beijing and Moscow are now facing a variety of challenges, and that both sides have the responsibility to defend their interests.

As 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia, the two sides should further fortify the idea that the two nations should be friends instead of enemies from generation to generation, Wen added.

Putin, for his part, said the Russia-China trade could return to the pre-crisis level this year. Both countries agreed to expand local currency settlement, and the Chinese yuan will be traded on the Russian foreign exchange market soon.

Russia and China have deepened their cooperation in the fields of banking, investment and energy, said the Russian prime minister.

The two countries launched the language year programs as part of their cultural exchange activities, and will hold tourism year in each other's countries, Putin said.

With the establishment of a youth cooperation mechanism, both sides will further boost exchanges between their young people, he added.

Before the press conference, the two premiers witnessed the signing of 12 cooperation agreements on customs, railway, civil aviation and cultural exchanges.

Later in the day, Wen flew to Moscow to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

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