Xinjiang, Tibet prioritized in growth blueprint

2016-03-18 00:38:04 GMT2016-03-18 08:38:04(Beijing Time)  Global Times
A city in XinjiangA city in Xinjiang

A new five-year national socioeconomic development plan released Thursday says China vows to further develop and open up its borders, including the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

As an important part of the country's new Silk Road strategic initiative, opening up trade routes linking Central Asia and Southeast Asia will not only improve life and stability in China's less developed border areas, but would also promote regional stability, experts said.

The 80-chapter 13th Five Year Plan, passed by the National People's Congress on Wednesday, includes the country's blueprint for the economy, national defense, social security, environmental protection and many other key sectors.

One chapter is devoted to the development of ethnic, border and less developed areas. Building infrastructure and the key channels linking to other countries is listed as a major task.

The 13th Five-Year Plan outlines ambitions to build Xinjiang as an important gateway to the west, Tibet as the channel to South Asia, Yunnan Province as the channel to Southeast Asia and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region as an international passage to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Tian Yun, director of the China Society of Macroeconomics research center, told the Global Times on Thursday that the 13th Five-Year-Plan attaches greater importance to border areas for it is in line with the needs of the country's Belt and Road initiative.

Many places along the borders are transportation junctions and could become platforms to promote "Made in China" to neighboring countries, Tian said.

The 13th Five-Year Plan states that China will continue to promote the Belt and Road Initiative by building the China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia, China-Indochina Peninsula, China-Pakistan and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridors, as well as the new Eurasian Land Bridge.

The plan listed Xinjiang as a key region for the Belt and Road initiative.

Xu Fenglin, deputy director of the administrative committee of the Kashgar's Special Economic Zone, told the Global Times that Kashgar is close to a growing market in Central Asia and will seize the opportunity to develop local economies.

"Central Asian countries need funding to develop their infrastructure and industries, and border cities like Kashgar could become platforms for Chinese enterprises to transfer excess production," said Xu.

Aside from Xinjiang, Yunnan and Guangxi also play an important role in China's cooperation with Southeast Asia countries, said Tian.

"The Maritime Silk Road needs strong cooperation with Asian countries, and since China is calling for building the building of a community of common destiny among Asian countries, it needs to contribute to regional development," Tian said.

At a speech before the Boao Forum for Asia Conference 2015 in March 2015, President Xi Jinping said, "Asia is moving toward a community of common destiny and embraces a new future," and Asian countries need to seek a win-win cooperation and common development.

The needs for stability

Tian said that the policy also narrows the gap between western and eastern China and fulfills the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects.

The country will maintain medium-high growth to double its GDP and per capita income by 2020 from the 2010 level, according to the 13th Five-Year Plan.

"Border areas are always plagued by ethnic and poverty issues. Implementing opening-up policies to develop their economies could help maintain social stability," Tian said.

Xu said that Kashgar is trying to attract both domestic and foreign investors to develop industries, including infrastructure and tourism.

"These help Kashgar diversify its industrial structure and create more jobs. The local government give subsidies to residents, of which 90 percent are Uyghur, to encourage them to start a business," said Xu. Xu said that a better life for the locals will reduce the influence of religious extremism, which will contribute to regional stability and ethnic unity.

Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times that the opening-up policies serves the needs of the Tibetan people and regional development.

The 13th Five-Year-Plan also vows to lift 50 million people out of poverty and build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects.

As for national security, it plans to formulate and implement policies on politics, territory, economy, society, resources and the Internet.

It added that China will reinforce anti-terrorism forces, advance national defense and military modernization and increase international cooperation.

The 13th Five-Year Plan also aims to boost the country's marine economy, support Hainan Province in developing the South China Sea, safeguard China's maritime rights and interests and cope with any infringement of maritime rights.

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Editor: Zhao Wei
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