ST. PETERSBURG, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Far East is ready to work with China on more economic projects to bring benefits and prosperity to both countries, a senior official in the region told Xinhua.
Russia and China have agreed that more joint projects should be developed in view of the huge cooperation potential, said Alexander Galushka, minister for the development of the Russian Far East, after holding talks with Governor of China's Heilongjiang Province Lu Hao at the 2017 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Several cooperation projects are already under way. The first batch of 21 projects have attracted more than 3 billion U.S. dollars worth of investment, covering agriculture, petrochemicals, natural resources processing, logistics and tourism, said Galushka.
"We can have 10 times more projects at least. And we are ready to work purposefully and consistently to practically realize this potential," Galushka said, adding that further cooperation will also lead to economic integration between Russia's Far East and China.
The minister specifically underlined cooperation in the field of infrastructure construction, which, he said, has not given full play to its potential.
"We are neighbors, but we have little connecting infrastructure. It is necessary to create an infrastructure in order to realize the potential of the neighborhood better," Galushka said.
Currently, Russia and China are building the first Nizhneleninskoye-Tongjiang railway bridge and a Blagoveshchensk-Heihe road bridge, which will offer China the shortest access to seaports and the Russian Far East an additional cargo base.
Galushka said that Russia is making efforts to turn the Far East into an investment-friendly region for Chinese enterprises with a package of measures, including putting in place favorable administrative procedures, fully equipped infrastructure and facilities, efficient dispute resolution systems and tax break.
"Today we see 600 new investment projects worth more than 220 billion yuan (32.27 billion U.S. dollars) in the Far East will be introduced due to these conditions," Galushka said.
Projects in developing the Far East are expected to attract 60 billion U.S. dollars if Russia and China fully explore their cooperative potential, he added.
Despite the various beneficial conditions, Galushka noted a number of problems, such as the lack of checkpoints, complicated visa application and custom clearing.
Speaking of pairing China's Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, Galushka said the collaborative work of the two countries in developing the Far East largely contributes to this process.
"This is the place where European civilization meets with Asian civilization. And projects related to cross-border infrastructure, transport corridors, direct investment, market opening represent a practical example of the pairing," he said.