Bridges over icy waters . . .
A new set of three bridges connecting northern China with Russia is nearing completion, turning a border area formerly known for tense Sino-Soviet relations into a bulwark of friendship. A highway bridge over the Amur River connecting Heihe (China) and Blagoveshchensk (Russia) will link a Chinese expressway with highways in Russia. The Power of Siberia’s new gas pipeline that will run under the Amur River is also near these two cities, and is set to start delivering gas to China by the end of the year. And finally, a railway bridge over the Amur connecting the cities of Tongjiang in China and Nizhneleninskoye in Russia was completed last month and will begin cargo shipments later this year.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative edges north . . .
These initiatives are part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative – and Beijing’s self-proclaimed identity as a ‘near-Arctic state’ – and will help connect China to Russia’s energy assets in the Arctic as well as markets in Eurasia. China, which will soon be the world’s largest importer of LNG, is also partnering with Russia on the Arctic Yamal LNG project in northern Russia to transport LNG to China and other markets in Asia.
The importance of being a northern nation . . .
China’s interest and presence in the Arctic have been expanding since it was granted observer status in the Arctic Council in 2013. These new infrastructure and shipping projects move the country closer to the Arctic and show the importance of infrastructure in northern regions. Sino-Russia co-operation in this area is a wake-up call for Canada to step up its northern engagement.
- The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada: China’s ‘Belt and Road’ strides into the Arctic, few notice
- The Wall Street Journal: China, Russia carriers to ship gas on Arctic route
- 新华: 中俄加快“一管两桥”建设推动合作提档升级 (China-Russia co-operation deepens on the construction of "one pipeline, two bridges")