By Yin Xinyu, Zhang Xiaodong, Qu Pei, People’s Daily
Local cooperation between China and Russia has been prospering as the year of local cooperation and exchange between the two countries is coming to an end. It is injecting new impetus and connotation to the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.
The infrastructure connectivity between the two countries has been notably enhanced, with bridge, road and cableway projects being built. They have also enjoyed a variety of economic and cultural activities on both governmental and non-governmental levels, holding forums, exhibitions, and sealing deals.
The two countries have established two major regional cooperation mechanisms – the Council of Cooperation between the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River and the Volga Federal District and the Intergovernmental Commission for Cooperation of the Northeast China and the Far East and Baikal Region of Russia, as well as the local cooperation council of China-Russia Friendship Committee for Peace and Development.
Besides, they have also set up relations between 140 pairs of sister cities and provincial-level regions. With these efforts, bilateral regional cooperation has covered all fields and regions.
Yangtze-Volga cooperation has witnessed improvement both in scale and quality. Last year, the trade volume between Russia and six Chinese provinces and municipality including Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui, Jiangxi and Chongqing reached nearly $5 billion, up 30 percent. Some provinces even witnessed growths of over 80 percent.
China has remained the largest trading partner of Russia’s Far East region for years. Dozens of Chinese-funded enterprises have entered the leap-forward development zone in the Far East and the free port of Vladivostok. China’s investment projects in the region cover various sectors including agriculture, forestry, building materials and commerce.
Russia attaches great importance to the development of the Far East, and has approved more than 30 acts and over 100 regulations to promote the construction of the leap-forward development zone and the free port of Vladivostok, said Sergey Tyrtsev, First Deputy Minister of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic.
The cooperation between the Far East and China enjoys sound momentum in trade, education, and culture. Over 70 percent of the foreign investors in the region are from China, Tyrtsev introduced.
China-Russia cooperation has seen a good start in 2019. According to Chinese statistics, in the first four months of this year, bilateral trade volume reached $33.17 billion, up 5.8 percent year on year.
With the rapid growth of bilateral trade, local cooperation has been advanced across the board, witnessing increasingly closer investment cooperation. Enterprises from the two countries are realizing in-depth exchanges thanks to the China-Russia Expo, China-Russia Inter-regional Cooperation Forum and other bilateral forums and exhibitions.
Maksimov Nyurgum Romanovich, president of the Yakutia branch of the Russia-China Friendship Association and director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) said that his university is a witness of the rapid development of Russia-China local cooperation.
NEFU had no Chinese students 10 years ago, but now it has more than 100 and will receive another 100 this fall, he introduced.
In addition, the faculty members of the university have maintained close cooperation with their Chinese partners. This summer, they will team up with researchers from northeast China’s Heilongjiang province for a joint investigation in the Arctic ports in Yakutia.
Education is not the only field in which Yakutia hopes to cooperate with China. The republic boasts rich tourism resources, vast tundra, and one of the coldest permanently inhabited settlements on earth – Oymyakon, Maksimov said, adding that Yakutia hopes to attract Chinese tourists to explore the mysteries there.
Local cooperation between China and Russia enjoys great potential, said Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui, noting that the two countries will give full play to their cooperation mechanisms at both government and local levels, enhance communication and coordination on policy and regulation, so as to create a favorable business environment.
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