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Guangxi to Upgrade Transport System Under US$37 Bln Plan

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The south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a bridgehead between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), will invest about 260 billion yuan (US$37.1 billion) by 2012 to improve its transport system, an official said.

After the plan was done, Guangxi would have a comprehensive transport network linked to neighboring provinces and ASEAN, Ma Biao, the region's chairman, told a transport construction mobilization meeting on Tuesday.

ASEAN represents a growing trade partner for the region. In the first quarter, Guangxi's trade with ASEAN members hit US$1.08 billion, up 130 percent year-on-year.

The figure of 260 billion yuan is the final plan cost. In April, the region's vice chairman, Yang Daoxi, said that under a draft plan, the total would be 230 billion yuan.

Under the final plan, the region would invest 115 billion yuan on rail transport, with the start of construction of 1,450 kilometers of railways and completion of 1,100 km.

This year, the region plans to start work on the Nanning-Guangzhou Railway, which links Guangxi's capital Nanning to Guangdong's capital Guangzhou, and 256 km of the 471-km line will be built in Guangxi.

Also, the region will begin construction of expressways with a total length of 1,800 km and complete 1,700 km. About 120 billion yuan will be spent on highway or expressway construction.

The Nanning Wuxu, Guilin and Liuzhou airports will be expanded and a new regional airport will be built in Hechi. The investment for civil aviation facilities will total 3.5 billion yuan.

About 23 billion yuan will be spent to expand harbors and river ports.

In January, China approved the Guangxi Beibu Bay Economic Zone Development Plan, aiming to promote the development of the southwest and south and increase China's cooperation with ASEAN.

The zone, covering 42,500 sq km, will be developed into a regional logistics, trade and manufacturing base between China and ASEAN.

(Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2008)