What is it all about?
The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a program that is expected to offer a lot of opportunities for China and Europe across the great Eurasian market, which historically, linked the East and West via the Silk Road.
And today, the Belt and Road Initiative program is asking a dozen Chinese provinces to establish closer economic ties with Europe, with the emphasis on openness and inclusiveness, through China's good-neighbor policy.
The Initiative, which was first proposed by China’s President Xi Jinping in September 2013, has a network of railways, highways, oil and gas pipeline, power grids, Internet networks and aviation routes across Eurasia, with a lot of attention being given to Russia’s development projects in the Far East.Further reading: "One Belt, One Road" initiatives offer opportunities for Eurasia
What is Heilongjiang’s role?
The economic belt will depend heavily on railways in Heilongjiang province, including the line between the cities of Harbin and Heihe, and the Trans-Siberian Railway to Russia, as well as highways, waterways and air routes for cargo transportation to Europe.
And, the province is a key for China’s opening-up to Russia and Northeast Asia and it hopes to have better economic, trade relations, exchanges and cooperation with Russia and an economic region that integrates production, trade and transport.
"The provincial government has actively supported the new national economic belt program and that it will draw up a plan to help the province build an open economic system.”
——Wang Xiankui Heilongjiang province Party secretary
How does Heilongjiang benefit?
Transportation between the province and neighboring trade partners will improve, with work on the Tongjiang Railway Bridge, the first railway bridge between China and Russia, already begun.
The economic belt also includes a Eurasian railway system connecting the city of Suifenhe in Heilongjiang, the city of Manzhouli in Inner Mongolia, and Russia and Europe. The province will also be able handle freight for Russia from the nearby Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, to as far south as the Yangtze River Delta, and even the Pearl River Delta.
The Heilongjiang economic belt will serve countries and regions in Northeast Asia and Europe and will center on Harbin, the provincial capital. The city will become:
1. a railway container distribution center
2. a regional financial service center
as it plays a better role in the province’s opening-up and economic development.
"The Initiative calls for Jilin and Liaoning to increase cooperation with Heilongjiang in the construction of a Eurasian high-speed transport corridor linking Beijing and Moscow."
——Lu Hao Governor of Heilongjiang province