[Essay] UBRJ /NIHU seminar “Perspectives on Contemporary Economic Realities of Russia-China Border Areas: Border Town Suifenhe” was held on June 23, 2016.
UBRJ /NIHU seminar “Perspectives on Contemporary Economic Realities of Russia-China Border Areas: Border Town Suifenhe” was held on June 23, 2016.
On June 23, 2016 (Thursday) at Hokkaido University’s SRC, Professor Zhu Yonghao from Fukushima University gave a lecture entitled “Perspectives on Contemporary Economic Realities of Russia-China Border Areas: Border Town Suifenhe.” Despite the somewhat impractical time for a seminar – 16:30 on a weekday, about 30 people came to participate in this event. Professor Yonghao, who was born on the Sino-Soviet border in the Chinese province of Heilongjiang, started his speech with childhood memories of living in a border area, explaining how the experience of living in the border city, which at the end of Soviet epoch became a place for barter trading, led him to research this topic. After, he showed many photos of the area, explaining how the economic situation in this border area of the Suifen River has changed in the present time. Nowadays, more than half of Russian foreign trade is with Northeastern China, including Suifenhe Town. Professor Yonghao discussed the current state of border logistics in the area and how the import of Russian mineral resources, wood, and fertilizer has reached 90percent. In the past, when so-called shuttle traders actively interacted on the Sino-Russian border, the flow of goods was extremely high; however, in recent years, their number has declined dramatically.
In Suifenhe Town, Alibaba, a major Chinese e-shopping company, has its own shipment station that transports goods from Suifenhe to Russia; this company also works in cooperation with the Russian postal services. Lately, the infrastructure system (roads and railroads) has been modernized and transportation even from remote areas runs more smoothly (there are however still unresolved issues). Now, the transportation of goods on the Suifen River passes through Vladivostok, which is a starting point, and then on the route on to Japan and Korea, where Busan became another place of border trade experiment. Through this seminar, the audience was provided with detailed explanation of the issues.
Professor Younghao also stated that Japan, even having the opportunity to participate in this Northeast Asian border trade, still has not joined. The main reason lies in high entry barriers and poor logistics conditions, which stop multilingual logistics specialists from working in Japan.
This seminar was a part of the UBRJ border tourism project that will be implemented in September with a tour to the China-Russia border areas. For people who will participate in the tour, this seminar gave a good opportunity to look at the places that they will soon visit and, even for those who will not participate, this lecture was a chance to look at the contemporary realities of Suifenhe, a town that has undergone rapid changes and development, as a gateway to Northeast Asia.
From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to give our thanks to Professor Yonghao for a very interesting seminar!
(Written by: Tetsuro Chida, Translated by: Aleksandra Kuklina)