Chinese VP vows to further enhance China-Russia interregional co-op

15:48, March 21, 2010      

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Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R, front) shakes hands with Sergei Darkin, governor of Russia's Primorsky region, in Vladivostok, Russia, March 20, 2010. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

Visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping held a symposium here on Saturday, vowing to further implement a consensus of the leaders of China and Russia to boost interregional cooperation of the border areas between the two countries.

During the symposium, focused on means of boosting China-Russia interregional cooperation and attended by senior officials and business representatives, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng introduced the general situation of China's economic and trade cooperation zones outside its territories.

Gao said that the ever expanding China-Russia interregional cooperation in recent years has become an important part of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

An outline of regional cooperation between Northeast China and the Russia's Far East area and Eastern Siberia, which was approved by presidents of both countries in 2009, served as guidelines for the China-Russia interregional cooperation and was of great significance to the two countries' cooperation of the neighboring areas, said the Chinese official.

Xi, who arrived here Saturday for a five-day official visit to Russia, said choosing the Russian Far East area as the first leg of the Chinese delegation's Russian tour was meant to carry out in depth the consensus of the two countries' leaders and further implement the outline to boost the interregional cooperation between the two sides to a wider and deeper level.

Gao said the China-Russia Ussuriysk economic and trade cooperation area, the first of its kind invested by China in the Russian territories, has become a model of interregional cooperation between the two countries.

The Chinese side has invested some 290 million yuan (some 43 million U.S. dollars) in the economic and trade cooperation area in Ussuriysk, the second largest city in the Russian Primorsky Territory, and set up 80,000-square-meter workshops and 30,000-square-meter services areas.

Some 20 enterprises from China's Zhejiang, Fujian and Heilongjiang provinces have begun operation in the cooperation area in various sectors, including light industry, clothing, timbering, electronics and IT products, and provided a large number of jobs for local citizens, showing a promising future for the cooperation.

Li Zhanshu, Heilongjiang provincial governor, said the symposium indicated that the Chinese government attached great importance to the development of regional economy and foreign cooperation.

Li said Heilongjiang, the biggest provincial contributor of China's trade with Russia, would seize this opportunity to reach more achievements in the mutual beneficial cooperation with Russia's border areas.

During the meeting, representative of Zhejiang province and mayor of Wenzhou city Zhao Yide also promised to boost cooperation with foreign partners.

Xi said boosting economic and trade cooperation was an important part of deepening the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries.

Russia's Far East area and China's northern border areas are important economic and trade partners, Xi said, adding it is a new impetus of advancing the Chinese-Russian relation to boost interregional cooperation.

Conditions were already mature for the development of interregional cooperation between the two countries, Xi said.

While the settlement of border issues and the approval of the cooperation outline had laid a political and legal basis for cooperation, the strong will of cooperation by the governments and enterprises on both sides also brought about dynamics, the Chinese leader said.

The decline of bilateral trade in 2009, which was mainly caused by the global financial crisis, was only a temporary phenomenon, said Xi, stressing that it did not and would not change the basis and the favorable trend of comprehensive development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

China has been Russia's biggest trading partner since February last year. Sino-Russian trade reached its peak in 2008, with trade volume hitting a record 58.8 billion U.S. dollars.

However, the volume was dragged down by the global economic downturn last year, falling 31.8 percent year on year to 38.8 billion dollars.

The bilateral trade surged 67.9 percent on an annual basis in the first two months of 2010, bringing it close to the pre-crisis level.

Later in the day, China and Russia signed 15 cooperation documents totaling 1.6 billion dollars covering economic, technological, energy and infrastructure cooperation.

Russia is the first leg of Xi's four-nation Europe tour, which will also take him to Belarus, Finland and Sweden.

Source: Xinhua
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