November 28, 2006 10:02am CST
Located in the south of China, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region covers an area of 236,700 square km with a population of 48.2 million. It shares a border with Vietnam and faces the Beibu Bay. Guangxi, the only region in China that can provide both land and sea accesses to Southeast Asian countries poses a junction between the two huge markets of China and ASEAN. It also boasts unique geographical advantages of situating along the coast as well as an international land border and being cherished by convenient inland waterways. The region forms an important passage for the communications between China ans ASEAN. The Sino-Vietnam border stretches 637 km in the part of Guangxi with 5 international land ports, namely Dongxing, Pingxiang, Youyiguan( Friendship Pass) , Shuikou and Longbang. From Nanning, the capital of Guangxi, to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, the distance is only 300 plus km by road. The coastline of Guangxi extends as far as 1590 km with three deepwater seaports, namely Fangchenggang, Beihai and Qinzhou, which linked with Chinese in land cities by railways and among the Chinese seaports, that are in short reaches with the ASEAN countries. From the Fangchenggang port to Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam, and Bangkok of Thailand, the voyage covers only 150, 800 and 1440 nautical miles respectively. The highway mileage in Guangxi has reached 54,800 km, and an expressway bisects Guangxi from south to north. The expressway from Nanning to Youyiguan ( Friendship Pass) , which is under construction, will link up with No.1 highway of Vietnam, and highway network in Laos, Thanland, Myan mar and Cambodia. Guangxi has international airports in the cities of Guilin, Nanning and Beihai. It takes just half an hour to fly from Nanning to Hanoi, and the flight from Nanning to Bangkok is the most convenient air route connecting China with Thailand. The railway mileage in Guangxi has reached 3120 km, and the several trunk lines, namely Yue Gui railway (Guangdong to Guangxi), Xiang Gui (Hunan to Guangxi), Zhi Liu railway (Henan to Guangxi), Qian Gui railway (Guizhou to Guangxi) and Nan Kun railway (Nanning to Kunming) all meet in Nanning, and join with the north to south railway of Vietnam via Pingxiang, which will link up with the future Pan-Asia railway networks, that reaches Singapore all the way through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. Guangxi will be a logistics center in the economic exchange between China and ASEAN countries. As the transportation networks linking the two regions are being improved and are better established, more and more people and goods from other parts of China and ASEAN countries will find their way into and out of Guangxi. Industrial products and equipments, tourists and travelers from the Central, Eastern, Southern and Southwestern parts of China will enter into Southeast Asia countries by way of Guangxi, and agricultural products and raw materials from Southeast Asia countries will reach China by sea and by land via Guangxi, so as the tourists and travelers from all over the world. Therefore Guangxi will play the role as a distribution center for different parts of China, and for China as a whole in communications with Southeast Asian countries. Guangxi will provide a platform for cultural exchanges and economic cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries. Guangxi has very close cultural and social links with Southeast Asian countries. Guangxi is China's third largest place of origin for overseas Chinese, most of whom are living in Southeast Asia. Some ethnic groups in Guangxi, such as Zhuang, Dong, Shui, Mulao and Maonan have traditional relations with many ethnic groups in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Myan mar. They share similarities in language and folk customs. All this constitutes a favorable foundation for economic and cultural exchanges between China and Southeast Asian countries, and exhibits a prosperous future.