President Xi Jinping met with Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and head of the Russian Orthodox Church, on Friday.
Xi said Chinese and Russian people are closely connected by a deep traditional friendship, as well as a realistic need for cooperation.
Recalling his state visit to Russia in March at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, Xi said the two presidents’ agreement to enhance the cooperation will not only benefit the people of both countries, but also help to safeguard peace, fairness and justice in the world.
Xi lauded the Russian Orthodox Church’s consistent support for the development of China-Russia relations and for China’s stance on issues involving its core interests, including national sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and development.
Patriarch Kirill’s China visit, as part of religious exchanges between China and Russia, will help deepen mutual understanding, Xi said.
Briefing the guest on China’s religious policies, Xi said he hopes the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kirill will play a bigger role in cementing relations between the two countries.
Patriarch Kirill said both Russian and Chinese people cherish national independence and sovereignty, as well as value unity, diligence and justice.
Russia and China should understand and support each other in countering challenges, he said.
The Russian Orthodox Church will stick to the principles of equality and non-interference while interacting with the Chinese side and make permanent Russia-China friendship a part of Russian culture, he said.