President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, friends,
I would like to welcome you all to Vladivostok. My friend President Xi Jinping and I embraced the opportunity to hold a meeting in order to bring together some of the regions that cooperate with each another.
We have already several dozen regions on each side that are involved in interregional cooperation, and we attach great importance to these undertakings. Today, President Xi made this clear during our restricted and expanded format meetings. We are now presented with a wonderful opportunity to listen to our colleagues from the regions in Russia and the People’s Republic of China.
I suggest that we proceed in the following manner: we will give you the floor, we will hear what you have to say, and then President Xi and I will make closing remarks.
Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,
Allow me to say a few words too.
Your detailed presentations and the information you shared on interregional cooperation was very interesting. I think that having a meeting in an expanded setting of this kind is very beneficial, since this offers us an opportunity to discuss topical matters related to promoting interregional cooperation, as well as a chance to discuss prospects for further strengthening direct ties and promoting joint business projects, paving the way to enhancing humanitarian ties.
Interregional cooperation is an important element of the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership, and also helps strengthen relations between our countries.
President Xi and I have always supported closer interregional contacts, and are committed to doing so moving forward. This applies to the initiative of holding the Year of Russian-Chinese Interregional Cooperation.
Several hundred events are expected to be held as part of this large scale project, launched in Harbin in February. In particular, the First Interregional Cooperation Forum, attended by more than 200 delegates, was held in July in Yekaterinburg on the sidelines of the Fifth Russia-China Expo.
The Intergovernmental Commission for Cooperation and Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region of Russia and Northeast China also plays an important role in the expansion of interregional ties. Its second meeting took place in Dalian on August 21. The commission takes an active part in the implementation of large joint investment, infrastructure and transport projects, such as the Skovorodino-Mohe pipeline, which is already used to supply Chinese clients with Russian hydrocarbons. The construction of the Power of Siberia pipeline is being carried out as planned.
I am speaking about this because it concerns large nationwide projects that cross your territories, and in such cases cooperation with regional authorities is always important.
We are exploring opportunities to increase the volume of Chinese cargo transported via the Trans-Siberian Railway and Russian Far Eastern ports. The Northern Sea Route is also used. Two bridges and a cable car are under construction across the Amur river.
Regions in the Volga Federal District and provinces of the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River have also established effective cooperation in the Volga-Yangtze format. A roadmap for humanitarian cooperation has been developed and dozens of agreements have been signed in many other spheres.
Let me add that the geography of flights between Russian and Chinese regions is expanding. Flights from more than 20 Chinese cities arrive in Moscow. There are also direct flights between Chinese cities and St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk. In addition, we are opening up possibilities for other destinations. We hope that there will soon be regular flights to Kazan and Sochi.
Our countries’ regions hold many joint cultural events. Art festivals, exhibitions and summer and winter camps for young people are organised regularly, as well as sport competitions, as my colleagues have already said. Some of these events are unique, such as the annual swimming competition across the border, along the Amur River. I would also like to mention the Far East Cup Regatta that opened in Qingdao, with one of its stages finishing in Vladivostok these days.
In conclusion I would like to wish all of you further success and the implementation of your plans.
Thank you for your attention. I am pleased to give the floor to our guest, President of China Xi Jinping.
President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping (retranslated): Mr. President Putin, ladies and gentlemen, friends,
It is a pleasure to attend this roundtable discussion involving the leaders of Chinese and Russian regions. Representatives of both sides have just reported on the results of the roundtable discussion and Chinese-Russian regional cooperation. President Putin has also voiced highly valuable thoughts about our cooperation. I agree with him completely.
Chinese-Russian inter-regional cooperation in a new era is the theme of our dialogue. In this era, our inter-regional cooperation faces a new situation, new tasks, new requirements as well as a new historical chance. Today, a polycentric world order and economic globalisation have already become the main trend. However, at the same time, a unilateral approach, protectionism and other trends, which are diametrically opposite to the globalisation process, are asserting themselves.
As a rule, opportunities always arise together with challenges, and they expand together with zigzagging changes. China and Russia perceive each other as the largest neighbouring states and comprehensive partners in strategic cooperation, both of them have the historic mission of reviving their nations and have broad common interests.
While successfully implementing the domestic political agenda, both countries have entered an entirely new period of national state administration and development. Our expanding cooperation and broader common interests allow us to jointly neutralise external risks and challenges and to facilitate our joint development and upsurge.
Our trade and economic, energy and investment relations have been developing dynamically over the past few years. It goes without saying that the results of such cooperation are here for everyone to see. We have established the multi-vector and multi-level cooperation architecture, with inter-regional cooperation playing a substantial role here. This cooperation hinges on regions, relies on regions and aims to benefit regions. The closer our inter-regional cooperation, the stronger the foundation of mutually beneficial cooperation is between our countries in general.
In early 2018, President Putin and I decided to proclaim the current years and the year 2019 Years of our Inter-regional Cooperation. Interaction between regions keynotes bilateral cooperation in 2018 and in 2019.
Taking part in this roundtable discussion were representatives from our northeastern, southeastern, coastal provinces, as well as the vibrant western provinces of China. Each and every province has its own advantages in terms of geographic location, and the overall population of these regions exceeds 800 million people. Russia is represented at this discussion by the regions engaged in close cooperation with their Chinese partners.
There is no doubt that you stand to benefit from inter-regional cooperation between China and Russia as you come up with new methods and ways to promote cooperation between the regions of our countries.
Allow me to put forward certain proposals with a view to further promoting inter-regional cooperation. First, we need to promote the engagement of municipal governments and coordinate efforts at various levels, as well as ensure a favourable political and business environment, using twinning relations between cities, provinces and regions, and also promote new arrangements of this kind, and find new models and avenues for cooperation and for stepping up contacts.
Local governments could take bolder action to attract investors and capital, offer tax breaks and benefits, financial incentives, ensure quality control and facilitate logistics in order for the political objectives to ‘take hold’. What I mean is that we need to create a favourable business environment for promoting mutual investment and for stepping up cooperation between our companies.
Second, we need to come up with a new vision for our cooperation by tapping into new spheres and making full use of the available opportunities. Our countries have vast territories, which could help further expand the geography of our cooperation. Apart from the existing cooperation frameworks linking Northeast China to Russia’s Far East and the Yangtze-Volga mechanism, we need to take a closer look at new models for regional cooperation by coordinating China’s strategies to develop Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Province, the Yangtze River and the Guangdong-Siangan-Aomen Greater Bay Area with development strategies for Russia’s federal districts. Regions must be proactive at the China-Russia EXPO, the first China International Import Expo, and various exhibitions and forums, and use these platforms to expand their ties and find new cooperation opportunities.
Third, it is necessary to uncap the parties’ benefit from complementing each other, to reveal the regions’ unique values and ensure that the two sides match precisely. These regions differ in their economic capacity, industrial structure and available resources. For example, the provinces in China’s northeast and Inner Mongolia border with Russia, therefore, they can strengthen cooperation in interconnectivity of the infrastructure, including roads, railways, bridges, ports, border checkpoints as well as in the construction of cross-border cooperation clusters. The provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, Guangdong with huge research and scientific potential have brilliant prospects for cooperation with Russian partners in foreign trade, e-commerce and scientific innovation.
As concerns the Sichuan Province known for its rich soil and abundant produce, it could increase its cooperation with Russia in agricultural processing.
It is important that the regions with their high-quality resources use their advantages to achieve concrete results and find new positive points of cooperation in developing modern agricultural resources, infrastructure building, plus science and technology innovation.
Fourth, it is necessary to intensify both cultural and humanitarian links and strengthen the social basis for cooperation. Relations between states are based on convergence of nations. Therefore, we should expand the programme of Years of Regional Cooperation and assist with regular joint events in culture, tourism, education and the mass media; encourage exchange visits, strengthen mutual awareness of cultural traditions and strengthen mutual affinity and understanding.
This is the perfect time to promote our inter-regional cooperation. The governments of our two countries will further support their respective regions in their efforts to expand cooperation and achieve even greater results. I hope that regional representatives will not miss out on this opportunity and will work together to write a new page in the history of China-Russia inter-regional cooperation.
Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
I would like to say a few words to the heads of the Russian and Chinese regions represented here today. As you know, President Xi Jinping and yours truly worked in our respective regions in China and Russia. We are fully aware of the challenging and diverse nature of your work. You bear an enormous responsibility for developing the territories entrusted to you and for improving the lives of people living there.
As you have heard, we have been supporting your efforts to promote inter-regional cooperation and are committed to supporting them in the future. In fact, we believe that this cooperation can and definitely will help develop your territories and deliver on the objectives that you face. This is the first point I wanted to make.
The second is that we hope that your cooperation strengthens ties between our countries and helps Russia and China step up their relations. We attach great importance to these efforts.
It is our belief that our relations are essential and critical for our countries, as well as for the world in general. These are global, strategic relations that are gaining momentum. Your efforts will be decisive in ensuring this progress. We wish you every success.
Thank you very much.