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Xi’s Russian visit to consolidate high-level development of China-Russia ties

(People's Daily)    10:01, September 13, 2018

Workers from local auto manufacturer Yubo-Sumotori Works Co examine a FAW truck in Artyom, Russia’s Primorsky Krai. (Photo by Yin Xinyu from People’s Daily)

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attendance of the 4th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) indicates the high importance China attaches to the cooperation with the Far East region, as well as its resolution to promote regional development and prosperity.

Xi arrived at Russia's Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok on Tuesday for the fourth EEF at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is the first time for the Chinese head of state to attend the EEF, which was proposed by Putin in 2015.

Russia’s Far East region and China are linked by mountains and rivers. The region has always been the most active and the core area for Russia-China regional cooperation both in history and modern times.

Thanks to the boost of the Belt and Road construction in recent years, the cooperation between the Far East and China are embracing new opportunities and prospects.

Vladivostok Mayor Vitaly Verkeenko noted in a recent interview that Xi’s attendance of the 4th EEF would not only inject new power into China-Russia relations, but also serve as a new starting point for Chinese entrepreneurs conducting all-round cooperation with the Far East region.

At an industrial park in Artyom, Russia’s Primorsky Krai, rows of dark blue trucks are neatly parked, with their eagle logos shining under the sun.

During the 4th EEF, a series of cooperative agreements would be inked by China and Russia, said Konstantin Gurkovich, vice director of auto manufacturer Yubo-Sumotori Works Co in Vladivostok. “These trucks are witnesses of our deepening cooperation,” he added.

Yubo-Sumotori Works Co is a joint venture co-established by an automobile enterprise from China’s Jilin province and Primorsky Krai-based Sumotori Machinery Group. It produces commercial vehicles in semi knocked down (SKD) form.

“It was the huge potential of China-Russia regional economic cooperation that attracted us to invest in the Far East,” Wang Xiaodong, vice director of Yubo-Sumotori Works Co told People’s Daily.

Gurkovich noted that Russia was home to many truck makers, but most of them were located in the European part of the country, while the Far East had a strong demand for the localization of truck production.

“Now such demand has been met by the establishment of the joint venture. By taking measures to cater for local markets, such as the expansion of the container capacity, the trucks made by China’s First Automobile Works (FAW) are well accepted in the region”, said Gurkovich.

“Investigation suggests that the FAW has become an increasingly famous brand among local truck drivers,” he added.

In recent years, Russia raised the planto build the Binhai 1 and Binhai 2 international transport corridors, in an effort to expand and upgrade the country’s roads, railways, and ports, and better connect Heilongjiang and Jilin in China with the Vladivostok Port, Vostochny Port, and Zarubino Port of the Primorsky Krai.

The corridor will offer a more convenient seaway to transport commodities to China’s southern provinces and third-party countries.

According to Russia’s plan, the Zarubino Port will be able to handle 10 million tons of grains annually by 2020, and 33.5 million by 2030. Statistics from Far Eastern Customs Administration indicated that the cargo volume passing through the Binhai 1 and Binhai 2 corridors saw a year-on-year increase of 11-fold in the first half of 2017.

Under the joint efforts of both China and Russia, the Far East region is also continuously deepening and expanding economic investment in and cooperation with China, said Yan Wenbin, Chinese Consul-General in Vladivostok.

China has always been the largest trading partner and the largest source of foreign capital for Russia’s Far East region. The region’s trade volume with China reached $7.77 billion in 2017, growing 27.5 percent year on year.

Yan said that 2018 and 2019 would mark the years of China-Russia local cooperation and exchange.

He believes that with the 4th EEF and the care and guidance of both heads of state, China and Russia will make new plans on expanding and deepening regional cooperation, so as to further promote bilateral cooperation on key areas such as investment and transportation infrastructure.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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