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China-Russia friendship not 'past history': Li

BEIJING - The friendship between China and Russia is not "past history," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in Beijing on Tuesday.

Li made the remarks as he and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, met the press after they co-chaired the 18th regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian heads of government.

Li told the reporters a story about how China and Russia joined hands to battle devastating flooding on the Heilongjiang River, known in Russia as the Amur, which hit eastern Russia and northeastern China this summer.

Li and Medvedev held two telephone conversations in August on cooperation in the face of the floods.

"I'm sincerely grateful for the Russian side, which used its two upstream reservoirs to cut the flood peaks and scale down the floods," said the Chinese premier.

Medvedev, who arrived in Beijing early Tuesday for an official visit, is scheduled to visit east China's Anhui Province, Li's home province, and deliver a speech in front of a group of university students on Wednesday.

"I suggested (during the meeting) that Prime Minister Medvedev tell that story as he meets the Chinese students tomorrow," Li said.

"(Russia's work to cut the flood peaks) helped China and showed Russia's friendship with China," said the Chinese premier.

"(We) should let the Chinese youth know that (the friendship) is not past history," he added.

"I will," said the smiling Russian prime minister.

"I am sure to tell the students about our cooperation on this matter as I visit your hometown," Medvedev said, adding that he will also inform the students of the cooperation between the disaster-relief agencies of the two countries as well as the content of the phone conversations.

"It shows our strategic cooperation as well as our friendship," said the prime minister.
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