China and Russia to reinforce ties with cross-border highway bridge

Wendy Wu
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China and Russia to reinforce ties with cross-border highway bridge

Construction workers have put the last bolts in a highway bridge over the Heilongjiang River, connecting China and Russia in a flagship project to boost economic links between the two countries.

The bridge, the first of its kind between the two countries, will link the twin trading cities of Heihe in northern China and Blagoveshchensk in Russia’s Far East.

It is a key part of a 19.9km (12.4 mile) highway project and the main work is expected to be completed by the end of this year, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Once in operation, the bridge is expected to handle more than 3 million tonnes of cargo and 1.4 million passengers each year by 2020.

Friday’s milestone follows the connection of a nearby cross-border rail bridge in March.

The bridge projects are part of China’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to link economies into a China-centred trading network.

They are expected to boost trade and personnel exchanges between the two countries, which have moved closer in recent years amid tensions with the United States.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Russia for three days from Wednesday, a trip that will include attendance at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Vladimir Putin to roll out red carpet for Xi Jinping as Russia and China seek to move closer in face of growing US mistrust

Trade between the two countries last year rose by 24.5 per cent to a record US$108 billion, and Russia is now China’s biggest energy supplier.

Moscow has also sought Beijing’s support in developing the Arctic – a move that has irked Washington and prompted warnings from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the dangers of Russian militarisation and Chinese investment.

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