Amazing landscape of Heixiazi Island, NE China

Dawn breaks as fishermen trawl in the waters of the Heixiazi Island near Fuyuan County, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, July 18, 2011. The Chinese part of the Heixiazi Island, a border island that links China and Russia, will be open to tourists on Wednesday on a trial basis. A six-hour ship tour forms the centerpiece of the island’s tourism programs. The tour will start running on July 20 and is to bring visitors to both the Chinese and Russian sides of the waters around the island. A land tour of the island will also take about six hours, with major attractions such as a former Russian military camp and a commemorative area for the signing of the 2008 Sino-Russia agreement, according to the local tourism department. Tourists can also visit China’s easternmost border outpost in Wusu County and watch the earliest sunrise in the country. China and Russia unveiled boundary markers on the Heixiazi Island, or the Big Ussuri Island, in 2008 and agreed in November 2010 to jointly develop the island into an eco-tourism zone. The western half of the 335-square-km island now belongs to China, while Russia controls the other half. A wetland nature reserve with an area of 131 square km, or 75 percent of the Chinese share of the island, will be established, with the rest to be developed for trade and tourism. The island will also bring new opportunities for international business, as it will act as a hub for ports in eastern Russia, east China’s coastal areas, Japan, Korea and southeast Asian countries. New railways and a bridge connecting the island to the mainland are still under construction. An airport and more roads will also be built, according to the development plan. Russia will also open its half to tourists, but has not established a timetable for doing so, according to the Sino-Russian development plan. Russia’s Information Telegraph Agency (ITAR-TASS) said on Jan. 12 that the country will spend 19.3 billion rubles (687 million U.S. dollars) to build an international recreation center with a hotel, a water park and more than 470 residences. (Xinhua/Wang Jianwei)

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