Big things in store for Yangtze delta

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By LI YANG in Shang­hai

Party chiefs and gov­ern­ment heads from Shang­hai, Zhe­jiang, Jiangsu and An­hui met in Shang­hai ear­lier last week vow­ing to strengthen the re­gional in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of the Yangtze River Delta next year.

The meet­ing state­ment em­pha­sized that the four provin­cial re­gions will ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in the na­tional strate­gies of build­ing the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt on the Eurasian con­ti­nent and the con­struc­tion the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road on the Pa­cific and In­dian oceans, as well as the Yangtze River eco­nomic belt na­tional strat­egy, so as to fur­ther pro­mote he open­ing up of the most ro­bust eco­nomic en­gine on China’s map.

The four provin­cial re­gions will of­fer their as­sis­tance to the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion, Yun­nan prov­ince and the other re­gions in the west of China, with the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt con­struc­tion work.

The con­struc­tion of the coastal area of Jiangsu, the ocean econ­omy of Zhe­jiang, and its Zhoushan Is­lands new zone, Wan­jiang River new zone of An­hui, and Shang­hai will be com­bined with the con­struc­tion of the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road.

The Yangtze River eco­nomic belt de­vel­op­ment strat­egy re­quires the four re­gions to im­prove their in­fras­truc­tures in rail­way, road, avi­a­tion, oil and gas pipes to form a stan­dard­ized, smart and com­pre­hen­sive trans­porta­tion and en­ergy cor­ri­dors.

Shang­hai’s ad­van­tage is rich fi­nan­cial re­sources; Jiangsu and Zhe­jiang are fa­mous for de­vel­oped man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try and business; An­hui is rich in nat­u­ral re­sources and la­bor forces.

The meet­ing at­ten­dees also pro­posed to set up a Yangtze River Delta co­op­er­a­tion and de­vel­op­ment pro­mo­tion foun­da­tion, the first re­gional foun­da­tion of its kind, to im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of re­gional in­te­gra­tion, which is of­ten di­vided by pro­tec­tion­ism and dif­fer­ent ad­min­is­tra­tive pow­ers.

The first meet­ing for Yangtze River Delta in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment was hosted in Hangzhou, cap­i­tal of Zhe­jiang, in late 2005, by for­mer Zhe­jiang Party chief and cur­rent Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

The delta re­gion has been the most im­por­tant grain-pro­duc­tion area, in­dus­try base, ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter and trans­porta­tion hub in China for more than 1,000 years.

The Yangtze River Delta cov­ers an area of 210,000 square kilo­me­ters, 2 per­cent of China’s na­tional ter­ri­tory, has 156 mil­lion per­ma­nent res­i­dents, about 11 per­cent of China’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion, and gen­er­ates more than 20 per­cent of China’s econ­omy.

The area has one of the largest city clus­ters in the world, which is made up of nearly 20 ci­ties, led by Shang­hai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Nan­jing, Wen­zhou and Wuxi.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

A view across the Huangpu River in Shang­hai. Shang­hai should take the lead in Yangtze River Delta de­vel­op­ment.

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