Belt and Road Crimea
Chinese private investors are interested in involving Crimea in the implementation of Belt and Road projects, Ge Zhili, head of the Chinese Association of Crimean Compatriots has stated. Speaking at an event commemorating the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s reintegration into Russia at the Russian Embassy in Beijing, he said: “Our organization is bolstering cooperation ties, exchanges and friendly contacts with all the layers of the Crimean society to help people understand what Crimea is, start cooperation with it, establish reliable relations with the peninsula, develop friendly contacts with it and implement joint private projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Ge Zhili said that the association which he heads is ready to use the “people’s diplomacy” levers available to it in order to contribute to the establishment of “reliable partner ties” and the explanation of legal details of business cooperation with Crimea. “The Chinese society hopes for the development of friendly cooperation with Crimea; we are ready to overcome difficulties for fruitful results,” Ge concluded.
From the Russian side, Russian Ambassador to China, Andrei Denisov, said that “The Chinese Crimea society will actively develop the cultural-humanitarian and economic contacts with Crimea this year. The Yalta International Economic Forum is annually held in Crimea, and Chinese representatives take part in its operation. Last year, the Chinese Information and Cultural Center was opened at the Crimean Federal University in Yalta. In August this year a group of school students from China will come to the Artek International Children’s Camp, where they will study the Russian language.”
There are also plans to renew cooperation between Crimea and southern China’s Hainan province in 2019, as well as between such cities as Yalta and Sanya, Sevastopol and Dalian (Liaoning province in the northeast of the country), and Sudak and Heihe (Heilongjiang province in the northeast of China), Denisov said, affirming that the Russian Embassy in China will actively contribute to the development of the ties between the peninsula and its Chinese partners.
“Crimea is one of the most attractive Russian regions. The number of tourists visiting it annually grows, which contributes to Crimea’s economic rise and the revival of traditional industries which are well-known beyond the peninsula,” Denisov stressed.
The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 in order to galvanize international multilateral trade-investment projects, which would involve as many countries as possible and use both the Chinese and foreign funds. The Russian government has worked on the issue of involving the Eurasian Economic Union in this initiative at all levels of bilateral cooperation with Beijing during the last several years. China signed a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union last year.
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