China and Russia pledged to strengthen cooperation along the Yangtze and Volga rivers, as the two sides Friday signed a host of cooperation agreements at a meeting held in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province.
The second meeting of the council of cooperation between the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River and the Volga Federal District was co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Mikhail Babich, Russia's Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Volga Federal District.
Noting the rapid development of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia, Yang said that the "Yangtze-Volga" mechanism is running smoothly with fruitful results, helping to advance bilateral ties and cooperation.
He expressed hope that the two sides can make good use of the opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative, jointly implement priority cooperation projects and expand areas of cooperation based on the needs of the people living along the two rivers.
The Yangtze-Volga cooperation mechanism, launched in 2013, includes six regions along the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River in China, namely Chongqing Municipality, and Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces, and the 14 federal provinces along the Volga.
The mechanism, which began as a symposium for local leaders, was raised to council of cooperation level last year, with Yang and Babich jointly attending the first meeting in Ulyanovsk, Russia last July.
Babich spoke highly of the progress of this mechanism and said that Russia stands ready to implement the consensus of the two leaders, and promote local cooperation in such areas such as economy, trade, transport, tourism, culture, education and youth, so as to inject new impetus to bilateral ties.
Yang and Babich launched an official website for the council of cooperation during the meeting, and witnessed the signing of a host of local level agreements.
They also attended the closing ceremony of the 4th Yangtze and Volga Rivers Youth Forum after the meeting.