Strengthening Relations between the Two Countries, Russia and China Open Bridges Cross-Border

Strengthening Relations between the Two Countries, Russia and China Open Bridges Cross-Border
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin Establish Cooperation between the Two Countries

International Military - Russia and China opened a new cross-border bridge in the far east on Friday (10/6/2022). The bridge's existence is expected to further boost trade, at a time when Moscow is reeling from Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine.

The bridge connecting the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk to the Chinese city of Heihe across the Amur river known in China as Heilongjiang, is just over 1 km long and costs 19 billion rubles (USD342 million), RIA news agency reported.

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Amid the fireworks display, trucks carrying goods from both ends crossed a two-lane bridge decorated with the flags of the two countries' colors, video footage of the opening showed.

Russian authorities said the bridge would bring Moscow and Beijing closer together by increasing trade, after they announced a "no borders" partnership in February, shortly before President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine.

"In today's divided world, the Blagoveshchensk-Heihe bridge between Russia and China carries a special symbolic meaning," said Yuri Trutnev, the Kremlin's representative in Russia's Far East.

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On the Chinese side, it also expressed a desire to further strengthen relations. "China wants to deepen practical cooperation with Russia in all fields," Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said at the opening.

Russian Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev said the bridge would help increase annual bilateral trade to more than one million tons of goods. The bridge has been under construction since 2016 and was completed in May 2020 but its opening was delayed due to cross-border COVID-19 restrictions, said BTS-MOST, the company that built the bridge on the Russian side.

BTS-MOST said the freight traffic on the bridge would shorten the travel distance of Chinese goods to western Russia by up to 1,500 km. Vehicles crossing the bridge must pay a toll of 8,700 rubles (USD150), a price that is expected to fall as toll fees begin to offset construction costs.

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Russia said in April that it expected commodity flows with China to grow, and trade with Beijing to reach $200 billion by 2024. China is a major buyer of Russian natural resources and agricultural products. China has refused to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine and has criticized Western sanctions against Moscow.

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