Twin cities to be more connected

By Te Kan (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-19 08:54

Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, with its unique geological position, will have a bright future in its co-operation with the adjacent Far East regions of Russia, said a top government official during the 17th China Harbin International Fair for Trade and Economic Co-operation (Harbin Fair).

Speaking at the projects promotion briefings of the Amur Region of Russia and the city of Heihe of Heilongjiang Province, Wang Limin, vice-governor of Heilongjiang, said the two places are highly complementary to each other and predicted a huge potential for future co-operation.

Their geographical locations mean Heihe, a border city in the Northeastern part of Heilongjiang Province and the city of Blagoveshchensk, in the Amur Region, are twin cities separated only by the Hengjiang River (called Amur River in Russia), the Sino-Russian border river.

They are also called the "Sino-Russian twin cities" along Heilongjiang's more than 3,000 kilometre border with Russia.

In 1995, China and Russia reached an agreement to build a cross-Heilongjiang River bridge from Heihe to Blagoveschensk, as a move to boost border trade between the two countries.

Zhang Jingchuan, mayor of Heihe, said that preparatory work from the Chinese side on the construction of the bridge was already finished, as the National Development and Reform Commission had approved the project. Heihe is now waiting for the Russian side.

Zhang said that the feasibility study of the project has been approved by the Russian side and only needs approval from certain departments.

"I hope the two countries can kick off the construction of the long-awaited bridge during the 2006 Year of Russia in China, or the Year of China in Russia next year," Zhang said.

Heihe has already designated an area of about 10 square kilometres on the Chinese side of the bridgehead as a future special trade zone, according to Zhang.


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