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Le Monde – Russia Allows China to Use Vladivostok Port

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Le Monde – Russia Allows China to Use Vladivostok Port

The headline of an article published on the website of French newspaper Le Monde on Thursday pointed out that Russia allows China to use the port of Vladivostok (Vladivostok) engaged in domestic trade.

Le Monde Beijing correspondent Lemaitre (Frédéric Lemaître and Moscow correspondent Benoît Vitkine wrote in an article that for a few days, Chinese netizens have been very interested in one content: China may use Russia’s Vladivostok port for north-south cargo transfers starting from June 1. transportation. This is very symbolic. Vladivostok used to be China’s territory for a long time, but in 1860, Vladivostok and the entire region were ceded to the Russian Empire, which was one of the “humiliation” imposed on China by the Westerners at that time. Since then, the northern provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin no longer have access to the sea, and goods here have to travel thousands of kilometers overland to reach the port of Liaoning further south. For several years, Russia has sought to attract Japanese and South Korean investors to revive Vladivostok’s economy, but with little success. In this way, although Vladivostok has historical disputes, it seems that Moscow can only bet on China. Therefore, from June 1st, trade between Jilin and southern China will be able to pass through the port of Vladivostok, which is closer than the port of Liaoning, without paying customs duties.

According to China Customs, fromSince 2007, Heilongjiang has had this possibility in theory, but it seems that it has not been realized because Russia has not really promised it. Therefore, the agreement initiated by Jilin Province also benefits the neighboring province of Heilongjiang. China Daily on May 16 said, “By opening the port of Vladivostok, China and Russia will be able to cooperate more in port construction and logistics development, thereby promoting the vitality of Northeast China and the development of the Russian Far East.”

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The official media did not mention

Alexander Gabuif, China expert at the Carnegie Center in Berlin(Alexandre Gabouïev), said, “The plan to use the port of Vladivostok is not new. The Russian side became interested in it around 2015, when Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev was in charge of the development of the Far East in Russia. Bilateral Improvement in relations first of all allowed technical discussions to come to fruition. Moscow is also profitable, it charges tolls.”

However, the issue is complex. Yang Jin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, explained in the South China Morning Post recently, “Vladivostok is a very sensitive city for Russia because of its commercial and military activities. Allowing China to use this port is symbolic Significance. This is a signal that Sino-Russian cooperation in the Russian Far East can be strengthened.”

Two correspondents for Le Monde pointed out that there are signs that the agreement has caused some discomfort on the Russian side, and Russian media and officials have shown great caution. The Russian media devoted a lot of space to the “success” of the Shanghai Forum, emphasizing the multiple declarations of mutual friendship or the exponential growth of trade figures. However, there is not even a word about the Vladivostok port.

fear of western sanctions

On May 15, Russia’s official TASS news agency published a rather mysterious telegram saying: “China allows its goods to transit through the port of Vladivostok.” On the Russian side, TASS only quoted the local customs chief as saying that he was sure they would be able to cope with the increased logistics caused by the situation.

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Two correspondents from Le Monde also pointed out that the cooperation between China and Russia in the port of Vladivostok depends not only on the goodwill of the two sides, but also on the rest of the world. While Chinese political leaders are happy to show “the friendship between the peoples of China and Russia”, businessmen are more cautious, fearful of Western sanctions. Recently, in the Chinese media, it is impossible to find photos or videos of the participants of the China-Russia Economic and Trade Forum. Likewise, Chinese ship owners would think twice before breaking anchor in Vladivostok. Regardless, this evolution at the port of Vladivostok is yet another sign of Moscow’s pivot toward China.

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