Putin-Hu summitry: "Cordial welcome," says Russian President

China's President Hu Jintao will receive the most cordial welcome in Russia, says President Vladimir Putin, who is hosting an informal bilateral summit.

Presidents Putin and Hu met on two occasions before-in Moscow 18 months ago, and in China, more recently.

They are now conferring in Novo-Ogarevo, presidential country residence near Moscow.

Russia was satisfied to see a steeled political activist overtaking the helm in China. "He is no mere experienced political leader but a man who has special feeling for Russia," President Putin said to the media. "That is why my wife and I are enjoying all the greater the chance to entertain our Chinese friends not merely in Russia or Moscow but at our own home," he added.

The Chinese visitors have a close schedule-work on an official visit to Russia plus activities on the Shanghai Partnership Organisation, to say nothing of upcoming routine contacts in St. Petersburg. Mr. Hu is unlikely to spare a moment to himself, remarked the host President.

This is his first visit abroad since his presidential inauguration, Hu Jintao said, in his turn. Appointment of Russia for this maiden visit testifies to the importance Beijing attaches to its contacts with Moscow, he stressed. President Hu is sure this will be an extremely fruitful trip.

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