President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin each sent congratulatory messages on Wednesday to the opening ceremony of the Year of China-Russia Local Cooperation and Exchange.
In Xi's message, the president said he and Putin jointly agreed to hold the event through 2019.
The important event is expected to invigorate the local-level cooperation between the two countries and encourage more enterprises and people to engage in the common development of China and Russia, Xi said.
Noting that China and Russia are friendly neighbors, Xi said that local-level cooperation plays an important role in developing mutual benefits.
Both China and Russia are at crucial periods for national development and rejuvenation, with their development blueprints a good match that hold great potential for local cooperation, Xi said.
Xi said he believed the two sides will make joint efforts to build the Year of China-Russia Local Cooperation and Exchange into a new spotlight for China-Russia relations.
Putin said in his message that Russia and China are expanding cooperation in various areas and enriching the contents of cooperation continuously.
Mentioning that local cooperation is an important part of Russia-China relations, Putin said the large-scale event is an extension of the tradition of the two countries hosting national theme years for each other.
He said the event is aimed at strengthening connections and mutually beneficial cooperation between local governments on both sides.
During the year, the two sides will host about 100 activities, including investment promotion meetings, exhibitions on trade, industry and agriculture, seminars, art festivals and mutual delegation visits, he said.
Representatives of the two sides also will have positive exchanges under such frameworks as the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the Eastern Economic Forum and the China-Russia Expo, Putin said.
The Russian president said he believed the year will be helpful for the two sides to implement promising proposals in all areas and develop great potential for local cooperation.