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China to Add, Upgrade 270,000 Km of Rural Highway

China is set to build and upgrade 270,000 kilometers of rural highway in 2008, a move to further modernize the country's transportation system in its vast rural areas, said Chinese Communications Minister Li Shenglin Sunday.

"The central and local governments will continue to allocate fund to support the countryside highway build-up and step up construction quality supervision this year," said Li at the ministry's annual conference held in Beijing over the weekend.

Statistics from the Ministry show that the country built and upgraded a record-high 423,000 kilometers of countryside highway in 2007, and 98.54 percent of villages and towns had been connected by highways nationwide by the end of 2007.

The country started large-scale countryside highway building and upgrading in 2003. In 2006, 320,000 kilometers of rural highway were built and revamped nationwide.

Li added that special supports shall be extended to those border and poverty-stricken areas as well as areas inhabited by ethnic minority groups.

(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2008)

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