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MOSCOW, August 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has signed an agreement with the state-run China Development Bank in a bid to attract financing for large infrastructure projects in the Far East and southern Siberia, Russia’s Far East Development Ministry said in a statement Friday.
Officials have said that the challenges facing Russia’s Far East – which comprises 45.5 percent of the country’s territory but just 7.6 percent of its population – mean that almost $100 billion of investment will be required to develop the region over the next 10 to 15 years.
It was not immediately clear whether the agreement included any firm financial commitment, but the Far East Development Ministry, itself formed just last year, said in the statement that up to $5 billion of investment was expected to be forthcoming from the Chinese side.
“We are proposing infrastructure projects – the building of ports, airports, roads, railways, heating and electricity systems, water supply systems, social and sports facilities, the creation of high technology and environmentally friendly manufacturing, and telecommunications technology,” Far East Development Minister Viktor Ishayev said, according to the online statement.
China Development Bank is one of the largest development banks in the world, and the announcement of its interest in the Far East comes as trade between Russia and China is growing rapidly, expected this year to surpass the total of $87.5 billion recorded in 2012.
The political relationship between the two countries also appears to be strengthening, and new Chinese leader Xi Jinping chose Moscow as the destination for his first foreign visit in March. President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg next month, Russian media reported Thursday.
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