MOSCOW - China has been Russia's top trading partner for six successive years, and bilateral cooperation is set to further grow despite slowing global growth, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui has said.
Russia was one of China's main suppliers of energy, and electro-mechanical and high-tech products, and even the continuing decline in world commodity prices did not prevent the stable improvement of bilateral cooperation, Li said in a recent interview with the Interfax news agency.
The pairing of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, agreed between leaders of both nations in 2015, would create favorable conditions for their over-all cooperation in various sectors, he said.
The Belt and Road Initiative comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and aspires to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes. The EEU groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
According to Li, China's direct investment in Russia has already exceeded $10 billion, and the two countries have planned 66 priority projects for a total of 90 billion dollars.
Cooperation is developing in such sectors as nuclear energy, electric power, chemical industry, agriculture, mining, among others, he added.
The ambassador hoped that China and Russia would develop new forms of trade and find new ways of growth.
The energy sector has been one of the priorities for the two countries.
In 2016, the construction of the Eastern Route pipeline proceeded smoothly, and it is expected to start supplies to China in 2018, providing the country with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, Li said.
Relevant parties have also been actively engaged in consultations on the construction of the Western Route pipeline, which may double gas supplies to China in the future, and a number of other large objects, said the ambassador.