China also discussed with Yanukovych leasing over 600 square miles of agricultural land in Crimea, to grow up to 8 million tons of wheat and corn for export to China using advanced techniques such as drip irrigation and fertilizers, tripling current Crimean yields of 2 million tons. Among the other projects on the drawing board were the reconstruction and development of the fishing port of Sevastopol and the creation around the new port of a high-tech industrial zone.
Wang stated that construction was slated to begin in late 2015, with the entire implementation period lasting no more than two years, with profits expected about six years after all phases of the project were fully operational.
Nor was Chinese interest in Crimea solely commercial. In 2009 China signed a contract with Ukraine’s Ukrspetseksport state armaments firm for constructing four small military amphibious Zubr hovercraft; two were to be built in Crimea’s More shipyard, the other two in China with Ukrainian assistance. The first $350 million landing craft was delivered to China in April 2013, along with technical plans and specifications. Russia’s state arms export agency Rosoboronexport stated that Ukraine’s actions were illegal and violated Russian intellectual property rights, as the transfer of the technical plans would allow China to construct its own military amphibious hovercraft.
In a pragmatic acceptance of Russia’s actions, China’s Ukrainian Crimean interests have largely shifted under Russian auspices.