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SW China Pledges to Spend Heavily on Transport

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With a hefty 300 billion yuan (nearly US$44 billion) investment, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region will make transport a priority in the coming five years, said an official on Wednesday.

Ma Biao, chairman of the region, made the remark at the two-day Pan-Beibu Bay Economic Cooperation Forum where "co-building a new China-ASEAN growth pole" was its theme.

He said Guangxi would build 2,180 km of railways and 1,800 km of highways ahead of 2012, with 14 highways linking neighboring provinces and nations.

Guangxi was also targeting at increasing its port handling capability to 230 million tons before 2012, as well as expanding two airports, one in the capital Nanning, and one in the tourist city Guilin.

With a population of 12.4 million, the Pan-Beibu Bay economic zone covers 42,500 square km of land and 130,000 square km of sea.

Most coastal economic activities in China are in three economic regions, the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai-ring. Economic activities in the Beibu Bay area, at present, are relatively backwards.

China's 11th five-year (2006-2010) program for Western Development has placed the Beibu Bay economic zone as one of the three economic development zones in the country's west that enjoy priority in economic development.

(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2008)