PETERSBURG, Russia, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping was awarded an honorary doctorate from Russia's St. Petersburg State University on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the awarding ceremony.
Xi was warmly welcomed by Putin when arriving at the main building of the university. After visiting an exhibition on the university's cooperation with China, the two heads of state stepped into the auditorium together, where they were met with a standing ovation from the faculty members, students and guests present.
In a speech delivered after being awarded the certificate by the university's rector, Xi said he feels honored to receive an honorary doctorate from St. Petersburg State University.
The university, he said, is a world-renowned and time-honored academic institution which has made remarkable contributions to the scientific, cultural and educational development of Russia and the whole world, and produced many sinologists excelling in both the Chinese language and culture.
Cooperation in education is an important way to help enhance people's understanding and friendship, Xi said, noting that the university's close exchanges and cooperation with its Chinese counterparts have promoted the Chinese culture in Russia as well as Russian studies in China.
Recalling that he witnessed the awarding of an honorary doctorate by Tsinghua University to Putin in April, he said Tsinghua University and St. Petersburg State University, respectively his and Putin's alma mater, are outstanding representatives of higher-education institutions in China and Russia.
Their conferring of honorary doctorates on the heads of state of each other's countries testifies to the close educational and cultural exchanges between the two sides, and demonstrates the high level of China-Russia relations, Xi added.
Xi expressed hope that the two countries will constantly expand educational exchanges and cooperation, promote their own fine culture, and learn from each other, so as to cultivate more talents for their respective development.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Russia, and their relations have entered a new era, Xi said.
Calling youth the hope of human progress and future of China-Russia friendship, Xi urged the young generations in both countries to courageously shoulder their responsibilities and work together to contribute to the development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.
Extending his congratulations, Putin said he is honored that Xi was conferred an honorary doctorate by his alma mater.
Xi has made important contributions to advancing the profound development of Russia-China relations, launched a series of important initiatives with regard to international relations, and made personal efforts to advance their implementation, Putin said, noting that Xi's proposal of jointly building the Belt and Road has drawn international support and involvement.
Top-notch Russian academic institutions, including St. Petersburg State University, have carried out fruitful exchanges and cooperation with their Chinese peers, and the deepening mutual understanding is bound to further promote bilateral relations, he said.
Following the awarding ceremony, Russian and Chinese students presented the two heads of state with oil paintings as gifts. The two leaders also visited the Mendeleev workshop together.
Xi is in Russia for a state visit and the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum at the invitation of Putin.