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China, Vietnam to Open Direct Transport Between Border Cities

China and Vietnam will open a direct transport service between their respective border cities of Pingxiang and Lang Son by year end, according to a Chinese official on Monday.

Irregular shuttle buses, government vehicles and private cars would be allowed to pass the shared Friendship Gate Port and drive in each other's city, said Song Jian, director of the International Road Transport Administration under the China Friendship Gate Port.

Freight trucks could only drive into the designated logistics parks in the two cities, Song said, citing an agreement of the transport authorities from the two countries.

During their meeting late last month, the two sides agreed transport authorities would start issuing permits to the vehicles of the direct transport service.

According to the plan, transport officials will meet again late this month to discuss further details. This will also involve officials from various authorities, including customs, border inspection and quarantine, public security, transport businesses and insurance.

"The direct transport service is expected to greatly boost bilateral cooperation in transport, trade, tourism and other areas," Song said.

Over the past few years, no direct transport has been allowed through the port of the Friendship Gate, which is rendered into Youyi Guan in Chinese and Huu Nghi Quan in Vietnamese. The highway port is about 17 km from Pingxiang, a small city in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and 18 km away from Lang Son, capital of north Vietnam's Lang Son Province.

More than 200,000 vehicles pass through the border each year, according to Chinese government statistics.

(Xinhua News Agency October 7, 2008)

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