Hei­longjiang Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt Fa­cil­i­tates Growth, Diplo­macy

China Today (English) - - CONTENTS - By SHA YUCHAO

Sit­u­ated on the coun­try’s north­east­ern bor­der, Hei­longjiang Prov­ince is, in a sense, a heart­land in Northeast Asia. It has rolled out poli­cies to en­hance con­nec­tiv­ity in trade, roads, cur­ren­cies and the pop­u­lace with the aim of strength­en­ing in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion.

DUR­ING his visit to Kaza­khstan and In­done­sia in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber 2013, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pro­posed cre­at­ing the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road to pro­mote re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity and de­vel­op­ment. The Hei­longjiang Land and Mar­itime Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt, part of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive’s China-Mon­go­lia-Rus­sia Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor, is also ex­pected to boost de­vel­op­ment in Northeast China.

Global Vi­sion

Sit­u­ated on the coun­try’s north­east­ern bor­der, Hei­longjiang Prov­ince is, in a sense, a heart­land in Northeast Asia. To the north and west, it is linked to Con­ti­nen­tal Europe by Rus­sia. To the east, it is con­nected to Ja­pan and South Korea via ports in Rus­sia. Its ge­o­log­i­cal lo­ca­tion puts Hei­longjiang in an ideal po­si­tion to em­brace new op­por­tu­ni­ties through the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

The prov­ince can uti­lize the ini­tia­tive to adapt to China’s “new nor­mal” of slower eco­nomic growth while still fa­cil­i­tat­ing de­vel­op­ment. It has rolled out poli­cies to en­hance con­nec­tiv­ity in trade, roads, cur­ren­cies and the pop­u­lace with the aim of strength­en­ing in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion.

Hei­longjiang is Rus­sia’s big­gest pro­vin­cial-level part­ner in China in the fields of forestry, oil and gas, elec­tric­ity and trade. Un­der the ini­tia­tive, rail­ways will be­come the main axis link­ing re­gional net­works of roads, pipe­lines, wa­ter trans­port, planes and power grids. These chan­nels, which will con­nect Asia and Europe, will be sur­rounded by im­port and ex­port in­dus­trial parks in cities along the route. These fa­cil­i­ties will cre­ate an eco­nomic zone for man­u­fac­tur­ing, trade and dis­tri­bu­tion. It will bring to­gether dif­fer­ent pro­duc­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties, de­velop in­dus­trial parks tar­get­ing Si­noRus­sian trade in China, con­struct a wellde­vel­oped ex­port- ori­ented in­dus­trial sys­tem, as well as build a ser­vice plat­form fo­cused on Rus­sian and Northeast Asian trade.

Be­sides be­ing a route for com­merce and lo­gis­tics, the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt in Hei­longjiang will also con­sol­i­date other fac­tors to boost lo­cal econ­omy. The prov­ince’s larger cities, in­clud­ing Harbin, Qiqi­har, Mu­dan­jiang, and Ji­a­musi, as well as bor­der ports like Suifenhe, Dongn­ing, Heihe, Hulin, Raohe, and Mis­han, are tak­ing ad­van­tage of new op­por­tu­ni­ties for progress. These in­clude projects in the ar­eas of ecol­ogy, en­ergy, tech­nol­ogy and re­sources, where var­i­ous par­ties con­trib­ute com­ple­men­tary strengths to es­tab­lish­ing a holis­tic in­dus­trial chain.

Shared Op­por­tu­ni­ties

Wang Xiankui, sec­re­tary of the CPC Hei­longjiang Pro­vin­cial Com­mit­tee, led a pro­vin­cial del­e­ga­tion to Ger­many last Septem­ber. To pub­li­cize the op­por­tu­ni­ties that the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is open­ing up, the del­e­ga­tion un­veiled projects and lo­gis­ti­cal set­ups re­lated to the freight train link­ing Harbin to the Ger­man city of Ham­burg. The Chi­nese rep­re­sen­ta­tives also dis­cussed the achieve­ments made dur­ing the con­struc­tion of the Hei­longjiang Land and Mar­itime Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt.

Dur­ing his visit, Wang stressed that the Hei­longjiang Eco­nomic Belt, one

Be­sides be­ing a route for com­merce and lo­gis­tics, the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt in Hei­longjiang will also con­sol­i­date other fac­tors to boost lo­cal econ­omy.

of the six land cor­ri­dors along the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt, has be­come fully linked. The freight train con­nect­ing Harbin and Ham­burg, launched in June, now runs on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Wang said that he hopes the rail ser­vice will deepen eco­nomic and trade ties be­tween Hei­longjiang and Ger­many and other Euro­pean coun­tries, as well as raise lev­els of in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion, en­hance peo­pleto-peo­ple ex­changes and pro­mote mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and po­lit­i­cal trust.

Ac­cord­ing to a high-rank­ing of­fi­cial at the Fed­er­a­tion of Ger­man In­dus­tries and a coun­selor at the Ger­man Fed­eral En­ter­prise for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion, once only wa­ter routes con­nected China and Ger­many. To­day, the launch of the Harbin-Ham­burg rail ser­vice opens a new front on bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. The Ger­man side vowed to ex­pand eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and friendly con­tacts and ex­plore new points of col­lab­o­ra­tion with China.

In Ham­burg, the Hei­longjiang pro­vin­cial govern­ment also spon­sored a fair that brought to­gether Ger­man and Chi­nese en­ter­prises. The event at­tracted 200 Ger­man politi­cians and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from well-known en­ter­prises, and they noted the fair’s size and in­flu­ence com­pared to lo­cal mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties un­der­taken by Chi­nese pro­vin­cial del­e­ga­tions in previous years.

Ger­man busi­ness­men said the event helped them to learn more about Hei­longjiang’s ad­van­tages, and progress was made in trade col­lab­o­ra­tion, par­tic­u­larly in in­dus­try. En­ter­prises from both sides signed agree­ments and mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing. Talks in a num­ber of busi­ness sec­tors were also held.

Dur­ing the Sec­ond China- Rus­sia Expo and the 26th China Harbin In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic and Trade Fair, held in Hei­longjiang last Oc­to­ber, some 10,000 busi­ness­men from 103 coun­tries and re­gions took part in mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, ne­go­ti­a­tion and con­tract sign­ing. In the spirit of the con­cen­sus reached be­tween Chi­nese and Rus­sian lead­ers the expo fa­cil­i­tated the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of key joint projects.

“China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and Rus­sia’s Trans-Eurasian Belt De­vel­op­ment and its en­vis­aged Eurasian eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion are com­pat­i­ble and can dock to each other,” Li Peilin, vice pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said at an in­ter­na­tional sem­i­nar on the in­ter­con­nec­tion of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and the Eurasian Eco­nomic Union.

“Closer co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries is ex­pected to be­come a new growth point for both sides and to add vi­tal­ity and a new di­men­sion to the progress in Eura­sia,” Li added.

All the Way North

Trains run by in a flash, while new rail con­struc­tion is in full swing. This year, rail­way con­struc­tion in Hei­longjiang has wit­nessed a leap in lo­cal de­vel­op­ment. The open­ing of the Hei­longjiang Land and Mar­itime Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt will change what once was China’s “nerve end­ing” into a new eco­nomic fron­tier.

The Harbin-Qiqi­har High Speed Rail­way, the first in China com­pletely sit­u­ated in an ex­tremely cold area and cross­ing an in­ter­na­tional wet­land pro­tec­tion zone and a na­tional key oil- pro­duc­ing re­gion, was opened in Au­gust 2015. The rail­way, to­gether with the Harbin-Manzhouli Line and the Harbin-Suifenhe Line, forms a pas­sen­ger and cargo chan­nel that runs through the prov­ince from west to east and links the east­ern re­gion of In­ner Mon­go­lia, which is vi­tal to ex­pand­ing the reach of the Harbin-Daqing-Qiqi­har In­dus­try Cor­ri­dor.

Mean­while, con­struc­tion of the Harbin- Ji­a­musi Rail­way and the Harbin-Mu­dan­jiang Pas­sen­ger Rail­way have gath­ered speed. Af­ter com­ple­tion, they will form a su­per rail­way net­work with the Harbin-Qiqi­har High Speed Rail­way and the up­com­ing Mu­dan­jiang-Ji­a­musi New Line, which will cre­ate an eco­nomic hub that can be reached by rail within just two hours.

To the east, the rail bridge over the Hei­longjiang River that be­strad­dles China and Rus­sia is giv­ing rise to the econ­omy of Tongjiang City. It has en­abled cap­i­tals to re­flow, lo­gis­ti­cal cost to be re­duced and port cargo han­dling ca­pac­ity to dra­mat­i­cally in­crease. The bridge, which will be­come the prov­ince’s third en­try-exit rail pas­sage­way, will pro­mote en­hanced ex­changes be­tween China and Rus­sia and the greater Northeast Asia.

The col­lab­o­ra­tion and ex­changes be­tween China and Rus­sia’s cus­toms have reached un­prece­dented lev­els in re­cent years, in tan­dem with na­tional diplo­matic and trade poli­cies. Dur­ing the Sec­ond China-Rus­sia Expo last Oc­to­ber, a num­ber of meet­ings fur­thered cus­toms co­op­er­a­tion along the Eco­nomic Belt and laid a foun­da­tion of con­nec­tiv­ity for coun­tries along the line.

The prospects of the Hei­longjiang Land and Mar­itime Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt will cer­tainly at­tract more at­ten­tion world­wide.

The rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony of the Rus­sian pav­il­ion at the First China-Rus­sia Expo in 2014.

Raohe Port in Hei­longjiang Prov­ince plays a role in con­nect­ing land and mar­itime joint trans­port chan­nels in Asia and Europe as well as link­ing re­gional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion in Northeast Asia.

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