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Zhanjiang mayor seeks alignment with Haikou at two sessions
During the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) from March 5 to 15, Zhanjiang Mayor Wang Zhongbing proposed to add Nanshan village of Zhanjiang's Xuwen county to Haikou's national-level new area building plan.
Haikou's new area, aimed to become a state-level port development zone, will cover Haikou, Chengmai and Wenchang. It was planned to become a new center of growth and a model for regional resources integration.
Wang Zhongbing, NPC representative and mayor of Zhanjiang, talks about furthering the development of the Beibu Gulf city cluster during an interview on March 12.[Photo/zhanjiang.gov.cn]
Haikou, the capital of Hainan province sits across the Qiongzhou Strait from Zhanjiang's Leizhou Peninsula. The Qiongzhou Strait is one of three largest straits in China, connecting the Beibu Gulf and South China Sea with minimum width of 18 kilometers from south to north.
According to Wang, Zhanjiang and Haikou are culturally and geographically linked. Frequent economic exchanges continue to bring increasingly good development prospects and closer economic ties among Beibu Gulf cities.
The Haikou government inspects port construction in Xuwen on Feb 8, preparing application materials to build a national-level new area. [Photo/zjphoto.yinsha.com]
Haikou started preparations for the application after the State Council issued a plan to develop a city cluster around the Beibu Gulf in February 2016. The plan outlined Haikou and Zhanjiang as core cities to bolster the development of the Beibu Gulf in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Provincial government heads agreed to build an economic belt along the Qiongzhou Strait together in September 2016. Ever since, Zhanjiang has desired to be included in the Haikou new area.
According to Wang's proposal, Zhanjiang's inclusion will add 50 square kilometers to the new area, bringing the total scope to 517 square kilometers.
Guangdong and Hainan governments hold a joint conference last year aimed to advance integrated development of cities around the Qiongzhou Strait. [Photo/Xinhua]
"Building the new area is a strategic move in response to national reform," said Shi Shenyi, member of the Party group of the Development and Reform Commission of Haikou. "Xuwen can benefit from the industrial development of Haikou and Hainan."
Wang said, "If the application is approved, Zhanjiang and other major Beibu Gulf cities will enjoy a wide range of cooperation, including the priority to share pilot tourism reforms."