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All flags are on a visit
Primorsky Krai is Russia's outpost in the Asia-Pacific region. On how contacts with our closest neighbors develop, the head of the Primorsky Krai Department of International Cooperation, Alexei Starichkov, told EastRussia
- Alexey Yurievich, what isactivityPrimorskyEdge in the field of international cooperation in the outgoing year?
- Primorye is perhaps one of the few regions of Russia leading an active, eventful international life. Vladivostok is the second consular capital of Russia. None of the cities of the Russian Federation, with the exception of Moscow and St. Petersburg, has as many foreign diplomatic missions as there are in Vladivostok. Today, 7 general consulates of foreign countries operate in Primorye: China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the DPRK, the USA, India and Vietnam, the office of the Kyrgyz Embassy in Russia is working. In addition, 15 honorary consuls of other states, including a number of European ones, are registered and operate in Vladivostok.
In 2016, more than 200 official and working meetings with foreign partners took place at the sites of the Primorsky Territory Administration alone. During this year, Primorye was visited by about 160 delegations and officials of foreign states of various levels. Our department, in particular, provides organizational and protocol support for visits of high-ranking officials of foreign states, such as, for example, Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan Yoshie Hiroyuki; member of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan, Deputy Director General of the Department of Healthcare for the Promotion of the Medical Industry and Global Expansion of Healthcare of the Ministry of Health of Japan Iida Keiya; Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC of China Chen Chango , India, Israel, Japan, South Africa, the Kingdom of Thailand, Turkey, Hungary, representatives of the Embassies of France, China, Germany, Denmark.
- What are the main issues for international contacts?
- The life of the Primorsky Territory is invisibly woven from international relations in almost all main spheres of life: education, science, culture, economics and foreign trade, transport, agriculture and fisheries. The geographical location of Primorye and modern geopolitical world tendencies are favorable to this: the development of the region is closely interconnected with the multifaceted and diversified development in the field of international cooperation.
In order to form and strengthen the positive image of Primorye, promote the trade and economic potential and opportunities of the region in the SCO and ASEAN countries, this year alone, the Department of International Cooperation organized and held more than 176 international meetings only of trade and economic orientation, both in the territory of the region and and abroad. All this work is carried out within the framework of the implementation in the region of the provisions of the Messages of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and is personally supervised by the governor of the region, Vladimir Miklushevsky.
In addition, there are programs of international cooperation of a social, cultural nature, educational programs. Taking into account such meetings, forums, negotiations, it turns out that on average, almost every day, two or three meetings are held with the participation of foreign representatives. The overwhelming majority of the meetings, of course, are devoted to trade, economic issues of interaction, the development of border trade, investment issues, and the development of tourism activities.
In general, the international life of Primorye is much richer and more multifaceted. These are cultural programs: exhibitions, festivals, tours, this is our Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theater, the Drama Theater. Gorky, the scientific and educational process: in the universities of Primorye, not only in FEFU, but also in other higher institutions, thousands of foreign students study and hundreds of foreign teachers teach. The sports arena of Primorye has long been an international platform in the full sense of the word, where competitions are held annually not only in Russia, but also on an international scale in various sports. A large number of foreign delegations come to Primorye to take part in major international events such as Tottori Culture Days, Heilongjiang Provincial Days, Jilin Culture Week, the third Far Eastern Media Summit, youth sports games of the Asia-Pacific countries, XI International Fishermen Congress, XX International Environmental Forum "Nature without borders ”and so on.
- The number of meetings turns into the quality of cooperation?
- Sure! There is a tangible result in the growth of inbound tourism: the region has become a leader in this indicator, the flow has increased several times over the past two years. The main destinations providing these volumes are tourists from Asia. Three key destinations: China, the Republic of Korea and Japan. The People's Republic of China occupies a large share, both in the entire entry flow and among these three directions. For incomplete 2016, the number of Chinese tourists visiting our region already exceeds 350 thousand people. We can observe quite optimistic growth dynamics: the flow of guests from China increased by 30% compared to the last year. If we talk about those tourist flows that go within the framework of agreements on visa-free exchange, then here the growth amounted to about 65-70% of last year's indicators. There has been a good, clear-cut dynamics over the past two years.
- In 2012 at the APEC summit, Russia first introduced the updated Vladivostok to the world. Since then, the city has twice hosted the largest international event - the Eastern Economic Forum. What are your impressions of the past VEF-2016?
- The II Eastern Economic Forum was, of course, the most important event in the Primorsky Territory this year. Let me remind you that the heads of three states took part in the forum - together with the President of Russia, the first persons of Japan and the Republic of Korea, our closest neighbors, came to the APR. The constructive meetings of the heads of the three largest countries in the region have become a definite message for the international business communities, for representatives of other countries. Vladivostok is the center of Russian cooperation in the APR - here one can and should meet, negotiate, discuss both business cooperation and the most important economic topics.
- Whose visit was especially memorable?
- For me personally, the visit of the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe was the most memorable. He was able to simply, beautifully and strongly convey to the public an unequivocal position: today Japan wants to actively develop cooperation with Russia, with the Russian Far East, and not only at the level of large industrial corporations and investors, but also at the level of small and medium-sized businesses.
Suddenly and it was pleasant to hear from him sincere words of admiration for the Far East, its people, the unique nature of the Primorsky Territory. Such phrases, said by the first person in the state to Russia, to Vladivostok, could not leave anyone indifferent.
Of course, one of the highlights of Abe's speech was a proposal addressed to Vladimir Putin, in which the Japanese prime minister expressed a desire to meet regularly in Vladivostok, which, he said, is one of the most beautiful cities in the Far East.
- Relations between Russia and Japan are now developing in a friendly atmosphere. This is confirmed by the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Second Eastern Economic Forum in Primorye, andRussian leader's visit to Japan. How active is international cooperation between Primorje and Japan? In which areas is it most promising?
- Not so long ago the Days of Primorsky Krai in Tottori ended. An extended delegation of representatives of the administration and business of Primorye worked in Tottori prefecture, in the cities of Osaka and Tokyo. I would like to note that the Primorsky Territory and the Tottori Prefecture have more than 25 years of relationship - a memorandum on the development of friendly ties between the regions was signed back in 1991.
Today, Tottori Prefecture is very worthily represented in Primorye: there is a permanent representative office of commercial companies, consultations are held, information support is provided to business representatives who are establishing relations with Japan. There are 31 enterprises with Japanese investments in the Primorsky Territory, and in general, Japan is the leader among other Asian foreign trade partners of Russia in the Far East in terms of accumulated investments in Primorye.
Most actively we cooperate in the field of timber processing and machine building. Joint plans for the extraction of minerals, in the sphere of agriculture, construction and tourism are discussed. A number of important agreements were signed in Tokyo and Osaka, where the governor of the region Vladimir Miklushevsky held talks with the leaders of the largest business associations "Kankeyren", which includes more than a thousand companies that provide a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. Also Investment Agency of Primorsky Krai held a business meeting in three Japanese cities: Tokyo, Yonago and Osaka, as well as a seminar for Japanese business, where potential partners spoke about the new economic conditions of Primorye, about forms of state support to increase the investment attractiveness of the region.
Issues related to the export of seaside products and products of Far Eastern producers to the Japanese market were also discussed. Today, Japanese business is showing an active interest in such areas as medicine, timber processing, and fish industry. Our partners have serious intentions to enter the maritime market. And in this context, similar business missions to Japan are very important and relevant for the development of economic cooperation. Today this cooperation has already fully formed format and has a regular annual character.
- Japanese business is stepping up in Primorye. From the latest news - the conclusion of an agreement between the companiesIIDAGROUPиRFPGROUPOn the development of timber processing in Primorsky Krai; Statements of the Japanese companyJGCOn the development of medical services in Vladivostok. What do you expect from these projects?
- In the so-called “eight points” of promising areas of cooperation between Russia and Japan, proposed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Russian President Vladimir Putin back in May, there is a point dedicated to improving the quality of life. It is based on improving the living conditions of citizens and improving the quality of medical care. In these areas, we have developed interesting projects with the participation of large Japanese industrial investors. One of them is just a project of IIDA, which plans to start working in Primorye and become a major shareholder of one of the largest coastal logging enterprises. The consortium plans to launch the production of residential wooden house kits, which will be supplied both to the Russian market and to the international, including premium Japanese.
The second example mentioned is cooperation in the field of health care, medical services for the population. We have a vivid example of such cooperation - this is the medical diagnostic center of Hukuto, who has been working in Vladivostok for three years. This center operates under the supervision of Japanese specialists, the doctors of the center undergo continuous training in Japan. Against the backdrop of the development of international cooperation, the Hokuto Center plans to invest in the development of the medical field more widely. We welcome this intention and are ready to assist our partners.
Alexey Yuryevich Starichkov was born in 1974 in Vladivostok. Candidate of Economic Sciences, Professor of the Department of Korean Studies, FEFU. In 1995 he graduated from the Faculty of Oriental Studies of the Far Eastern State University (specialty - "Economy of Korea"), in 1998 - postgraduate studies at the Far Eastern State University (specialty - "World Economy"). From March 2003 to April 2011 - Director of the Higher College of Korean Studies, Far Eastern State University. From July 2007 to April 2011 - Director of the International Department of FENU. Since 2007, in parallel, he has been involved in the development of international relations at the university as the director of the department. Recently he was Deputy Vice-Rector for International Relations. Since 2015, he has been the head of the international cooperation department