President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin jointly pushed for more people-to-people exchanges between China and Russia as they visited the Ocean All-Russia Children's Care Center in the suburbs of Vladivostok on Wednesday.
Ten years ago, the children's center took in Chinese youngsters between ages 9 and 14 who lived in the area of the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province in May 2008.
The two leaders joined in exchange activities held for a group of the Chinese young people who were visiting the children's center and the Russian teachers and students there on the sidelines of the fourth Eastern Economic Forum.
The 41 youths, among the group that had been invited to recover from the ordeal of the earthquake, reunited with teachers who took care of them.
Putin and Xi first visited an exhibition of photographs about the Chinese youths' stay at the center.
At the center's theater, they attended a commemorative ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the center's hosting the children.
In his address at the event, Xi said the two countries are good neighbors and partners and the two nations have helped each other through hard times.
Xi said that 996 children from the area of the quake were invited to stay at the Ocean center and they brought home unforgettable memories of their stay.
Youth are the future for both countries, the future of China-Russia friendship and the future of the world, Xi said, and they are expected to boost mutual exchanges, learn from each other, hand down bilateral friendship generation to generation and bolster dialogue among different cultures.
Putin said the two countries share a tradition of having their young people exchange visits, and it is hoped the younger generation will hand down and further promote the traditional friendship.
During the event, Russian students performed Kalinka, one of the most famous Russian folk dances, while the Chinese youths invited the teachers at the center to join in singing a famous Chinese song, The Grateful Heart, to express their sincere gratitude to their Russian friends.
Representatives of young people from both countries read out a declaration on everlasting friendship between the Chinese and Russian youths at the event.