The construction of the Sino-Russian Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge is expected to be completed this year together with other cross-border infrastructure programs aimed at enhancing China's connectivity with Russia and central Europe and central Asia, senior officials of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province said on Thursday.
Li Haitao, Heilongjiang vice-governor, made the remarks on Thursday during a press event on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing.
Aside from the Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge, which is expected to be completed this year, construction of the Heihe-Blagoveshchensk bridge on the China-Russia border began in 2017 and construction of Heixiazi Island (or known as Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island in Russia) land border port will also begin, the official said.
The border province also vowed to be active in China's projects, including the Belt and Road initiative and China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor in the coming years, to contribute to the establishment of the Heilongjiang Sino-Russian free trade zone, and to promote China's connectivity with central Europe and Asia.
Alexander Galushka, Minister of Development of the Russian Far East, said the Heihe-Blagoveshchensk highway bridge will be completed in 2019, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Galushka said the more cross-border infrastructure linkages, the greater the opportunities for increasing the flow of goods between the Russian Far East and China.
"Heilongjiang's trade with Russia reached $11 billion in 2017, a 20 percent year-on-year increase, and accounted for one-seventh of total China-Russia trade," the vice-governor said, adding that the province and the Russian Far Fast have become the most important trade partners.
Xinhua reported that a second line for the China-Russia oil pipeline began commercial operations on January 1, raising China's annual imports of Russian crude oil from 15 million to 30 million tons annually through the pipeline.
Wang Jinhui, Heilongjiang provincial agriculture committee head, also announced that the province has successfully defended its title as the country's top grain producer for the seventh consecutive year in 2017, with its green food authentication acreage reaching over 76 million mu (5.06 million hectares).
Asked if the provincial decision to totally ban the planting of genetically modified crops since May 2017 will be shaken, Gao Chunyan, a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress from Heilongjiang and the agricultural technology promotion center chief in Mudanjiang city of the province, declined to comment, saying it would be up to scientific research.