MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. Russia considers China to be its potential partner for developing the infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), stated Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Alexey Chekunkov.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is paying a state visit to Russia at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. This is the first country that the Chinese leader has visited since his reelection to a third term by the National People's Congress (parliament) on March 10.
"Since 2012 the relationship between Russia and China has reached an entirely new level of cooperation, the highest in the history of our bilateral relations. <…> The course of relations set for the period will predetermine the terms for the Sino-Russian strategic partnership for decades to come. <…> China is our potential partner on international transit by way of the Northern Sea Route, and in the development of infrastructure, seaports in particular," Chekunkov told TASS.
The Northern Sea Route will become an additional route for the transportation of export cargoes, among other things, for which the lack of throughput capacity in the Eastern polygon of railroads and ports is so pressing today, the minister noted. A comprehensive plan for the development of the Northern Sea Route through 2035 has been greenlighted. It calls for building 10 ice-breakers, 141 ice-class transport vessels and supply vessels, and 14 ports and terminals, as well as the launch of 12 satellites into orbit, and the construction of four emergency rescue centers, with total investment in developing the NSR reaching 1.8 trillion rubles ($23 billion) by 2035.
Since 2012 trade turnover between Russia and China has increased from less than $90 billion to over $190 billion in 2022, Chekunkov said. The Power of Siberia project has been completed, which "has defined the mechanisms for gas cooperation for decades ahead," he said, adding that China has entered as a partner in strategic projects in the Arctic, such as Yamal LNG, and in the Far East, such as the Amur gas chemical cluster. Overall, Chinese companies are leading among resident foreign enterprises with preferential status in the Far East. Some 52 projects worth a total of around $11 billion are being implemented with the participation of Chinese capital in advanced development zones and in the free port of Vladivostok.