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Chinese VP's Russia tour eyes cultural exchanges, cooperation

VLADIVOSTOK/ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has singled out the development of friendly relations between the youths of China and Russia, cultural exchanges and interregional cooperation as key issues deserving special attention in future efforts to promote bilateral ties.

Xi, who is on a five-day official visit to Russia at the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, on Sunday paid a visit to the Confucius Institute of Far Eastern National University in Vladivostok, and called on youths of the two countries to make joint efforts to help push forward the friendly bilateral ties with their youthful passion and wisdom.

At the institute, which was founded in 2006, Xi watched an exhibition showing its achievements, attended a Chinese calligraphy lesson taken by Russian students, and inaugurated a bronze statue of Confucius.

Xi also paid a visit to the "Ocean" all Russia children's center, where hundreds of Chinese pupils and middle-school students who suffered from the 2008 devastating earthquake had attended a rehabilitation program.

The massive earthquake struck southwestern China's Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces on May 12, 2008, leaving some 70,000 people dead and 18,000 others missing.

Xi recalled that the Russian government and people provided timely assistance to the quake victims and President Dmitry Medvedev later invited more than 1,500 Chinese pupils and middle-school students from the quake-hit areas to Russia for rehabilitation.

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