Cities around Beibu Gulf off South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region are building a transportation network to push forward the Belt and Road Initiative.
“With construction of the railway from Nanning to Guiyang beginning at the end of last year, Nanning is expected to become a transportation junction connecting the Silk Road Economic Belt in the north and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road in the south,” said Zhou Hongbo, mayor of Nanning, capital of Guangxi.
The State Council approved a development plan in January designating Nanning as the core of the cluster that includes cities in Guangdong and Hainan provinces, as well as Guangxi.
The plan aims to further open up the region to Southeast Asian countries and advance the region’s role as a portal in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Zhou said that the Guangxi delegation to the National People’s Congress submitted a motion during this year’s two sessions suggesting a land route to Singapore.
“We are building a railway network, expressway network, airport network, waterway network and information network,” said Huang Fangfang, director of the Guangxi Development and Reform Commission.
Huang said the expressway has reached Youyiguan (or the Friendship Gate), one of China’s key border passes to Vietnam, and Dongxing, on the Chinese side of the border. A high-speed railway from Nanning to Pingxiang, which also borders Vietnam, will begin construction this year.
“We plan to build two expressways, two railways and three bridges to Vietnam. The projects on the Chinese side are almost complete,” he said.
A waterway from Guangdong to Vietnam via Beibu Gulf is also in the plan, he said.
“The central government has approved Nanning to set up a China-ASEAN information hub, which serves as an efficient internet expressway for cooperation between the city cluster and Southeast Asian countries,” Zhou said.
In preparation, Guangxi is reducing travel time between cities around the gulf to half an hour.
“The city cluster will benefit from the development of the region and the integration of land and sea in the Belt and Road Initiative, and is of significance to the region’s further opening up,” said Peng Qinghua, the Party chief of Guangxi.