China, Russia, Mongolia ink economic corridor plan

TASHKENT: China, Russia and Mongolia signed a development plan on Thursday to build an economic corridor that will boost transport links and economic cooperation among the three neighbours, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The plan comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping said Chinese companies invested nearly $15 billion (10.38 billion pounds) in countries participating in Beijing’s new Silk Road initiative last year, up one-fifth from 2014.

The plan was signed by Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent.

Xi called on the three countries to build the economic corridor, strengthen cooperation in transportation infrastructure connectivity, port construction, industrial capacity, investment, trade and economy, cultural exchanges and environmental protection in an effort to expedite results, Xinhua said late Thursday.

“We three sides should actively engage in the discussion of building cross-border economic cooperation zones, enhance industrial tie-in, boost sub-regional cooperation in our adjacent areas, and promote the common development of our adjacent areas,” Xinhua reported Xi saying.

The Chinese president also urged the three countries to expand cooperation within the framework of the SCO, especially in such areas as transit transportation, food security, disaster reduction and energy.

Putin said Russia, China and Mongolia are friendly neighbors based on equality, respect and mutual benefit.

He said Russia, in light of the three countries’ consensus, is committed to working with China and Mongolia to well implement the projects of transportation and infrastructure construction, speed up simplifying port procedures, and promote regional economic integration process.

Russia is also willing to increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges with the other two countries, he added.

For his part, Elbegdorj said the development plan on the economic corridor linking the three countries is very important, adding that Mongolia stands ready to join hands with China and Russia to advance the construction of transportation infrastructure and strengthen economic cooperation in border regions.

Mongolia also hopes to enhance cooperation with the other two countries in agriculture and disaster relief, he said.