Visit to Okean National Children’s Centre 2018-09-12 14:15:00 Vladivostok Vladimir Putin and PRC President Xi Jinping visited the Okean [Ocean] Russian Children’s Centre in Ussuri Bay. In 2008, the centre served as a holiday and recuperation destination for Chinese children who suffered in a major earthquake. To mark the tenth anniversary of this occasion, a meeting between the Okean staff and their former young charges was organised on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum. Children from China travel to the Okean centre almost every year to take part in various programmes. In addition to this, teachers and students from the PRC receive language training at the centre, while Okean employees go to Chinese universities as interns. * * * Speech at the Okean National Children’s Centre Vladimir Putin: President Xi Jinping, friends, I am pleased to be here today with our Chinese friends, among participants of the Russia-China friendship festival. I would like to note that today’s event is pleasant and useful, but it was created in a difficult situation: it goes back to 2008, when China faced a terrible disaster: an earthquake where hundreds of people were killed or missing. Back then, Russia came up with a modest initiative that was natural for us, for our people – to support our friends and neighbours. We invited youngsters from the provinces damaged in the earthquake here, and about 1,000 of them came. This is how the friendship between children and youth started. Later, our Chinese friends invited our young people in return, but it did not end there. Relations in education started to develop; teachers began visiting; the Okean Children’s Centre started organising themed meetings dedicated to the languages of the two countries; young athletes, musicians and other young people interested in the two countries’ culture started to arrive. All of this has served as a good basis for developing relations between Russia and China on natural grounds between young people. I am pleased to see that this practice continues, as 50 young people come from China, while our youth from the Okean Centre go to China. We will expand the Okean Centre; you know that additional buildings are under construction. I hope that our Chinese friends will use them too. We have just spoken with the Deputy Education Minister and our friend, President of the People’s Republic of China – and he is a true friend of mine, a friend of Russia. Evidence the fact that in recent years Russia and China have had unique relations of trust, cooperation, mutual understanding and solutions to common tasks. Of course we bear in mind that you are the future of our countries, and the fact that the friendship between Chinese and Russian people is made at such a young but reasonable age is very important, this gives us hope for the future of Russian-Chinese relations. I would like to congratulate you on today’s event and wish you success. Thank you for your attention. Thank you very much.