HARBIN, June 19 (Xinhua) — As China is adding investment to revive the “rust belt” in its northeastern provinces, Russia is also looking to boost the economy in its Far East, which brings tremendous opportunities for the two geographically adjacent regions, experts and government officials said at a high-level forum at the 4th China-Russia Expo which closed Monday.
Andrey Ostrovsky, deputy director of Institute of Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the Russian Far East covers 36 percent of the country’s territory, but has less than 5 percent of its population. It is rich in natural resources but poor in infrastructure, similar to China’s northeastern region.
“Strengthened cross-border cooperation has become a feasible alternative to help promote regional development on both sides,” said Ostrovsky, who is also vice chairman of Russia-China Friendship Association.
He said the development of Siberia and the Far East is one of the most complicated tasks for the Russian government, and integrating these areas into the Silk Road Economic Belt building is an important way for them to share the benefits of cooperation and development with Asia-Pacific countries.
Over the past years, the development of the Far East has increasingly become a national strategy and top agenda for the Russian government, which has established a ministry to take charge of it.
Alexander Galushka, minister for the Development of the Russian Far East, said Russia and China have shared interests in the development of the region. The cooperation between the two countries in developing it largely contributes to the pairing of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.
“The Russian Far East is adjacent to China’s northeastern provinces, but has limited land transportation infrastructure. More overland cross-border infrastructure is required to make full use of the geographic advantages in commerce and trade between the two…