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Railway extended to China's easternmost county, bolstering Sino-Russia trade

(Xinhua)

16:43, December 06, 2011

FUYUAN, Heilongjiang, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- China's easternmost county of Fuyuan was connected to the railway Tuesday, as a new line was opened linking it to the country's rail network.

With the extension of a 169.4-km-long stretch of track to the county from Qianjin township in Heilongjiang province, it is hoped the new infrastructure project will help the development of Heixiazi (Bolshoy Ussuriysky), a Sino-Russian border island.

Locals refer to the island at the confluence of the Heilongjiang (Amur) River and Ussuri River as the "Fuyuan Delta."

China and Russia ended a century-long dispute over the region and held a border redrawing ceremony on Oct. 14, 2008, declaring each side owned half of the 335-square-km island. The two countries then agreed in November 2010 to cooperatively develop the island into an eco-tourism zone.

The railway will initially only be used for cargo transport, before opening for passenger services some time in 2012, according to Fu Yancheng, deputy director of the Fuyuan Delta Management Committee.

"The railway will have a demonstration effect to bolster fast growth in personnel and technology exchanges as well as logistics flow between China and Russia through the border region," he said.

Dong Zhenhua, manager of the company that operates the section of railway, predicted that the opening would prompt construction of an international transportation network in the Northeast Asian region.

He explained that Fuyuan is only 70 km away from the railway network in Russia's Far East. The port in Fuyuan is 65 km away from the fairway in Khabarovskiy Kray, capital of the Russian Far East.

The cross-border development sparked by the infrastructure construction would also bring vitality not only to Sino-Russia trade but to neighboring economic circles radiating to Japan and the Republic of Korea in the northeast Asian region, Dong added.

Wang Gaocheng, director of the county's grain bureau, said Fuyuan is an important grain production base, with this year's output topping 1 billion kg. The railway could help transport the grain to other parts of the country.

"Without the return of Heixiazi Island to China, the railway would not have reached Fuyuan so fast," said Zhou Jun, a local fisherman.

Once an isolated agricultural county, Fuyuan has been seeing more and more visitors in the past two years, as the island appeals to both business people and tourists, he added.


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