Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, communicates with residents while inspecting the Panlong community in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, December 14, 2023. /Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to free its mind, make innovation, promote the marine economy, and further opening up and development during an inspection tour to the southern Chinese region.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged the coastal region to write its chapter in advancing Chinese modernization.

On Wednesday, Xi returned to China after a state visit to Vietnam. On Thursday and Friday, he went to places including Nanning, capital city of the region, and Laibin City.

Speeding up constructing a modern industrial system

While visiting a sugarcane base in Laibin on Thursday, he noted that Guangxi, the country’s major sucrose production base, should further develop its characteristic sugar industry so as to play a bigger role in ensuring national sugar security and increasing sugarcane farmers’ income.

China’s sugar industry faces fierce international competition, Xi said while visiting a local sugar company, calling for efforts in boosting sci-tech innovation, extending the industrial chain and increasing added value to promote the high-quality development of the industry.

To promote high-quality development in Guangxi, it is necessary to accelerate the construction of a modern industrial system, Xi noted, urging efforts to focus on advantageous industries and integrate advantageous resources, and create a number of pillar industries with larger scale and stronger driving force that demonstrate the region’s characteristics.

He called for putting sci-tech innovation in a more prominent position, strengthening the integration of scientific and educational innovation and industrial innovation, enhancing the research on core technologies, and increasing technological transformation and product upgrading.

Xi also called on Guangxi to make full use of the advantages along the coast and rivers to vigorously develop the marine economy and port industries.

Efforts must be made to accelerate the optimization and adjustment of the industrial structure, promote the green transformation of the industrial system, develop and expand industries such as forestry, cultural tourism and elderly care, so as to transform ecological advantages into development advantages, he said.

Continuing to expand opening up

Inspecting the China-ASEAN Information Harbor Co., Ltd. in Nanning, Xi pointed out that the building of the China-ASEAN Information Harbor is an important measure to promote Belt and Road cooperation, as well as to enhance connectivity between China and ASEAN countries.

Thanks to the establishment of a pilot free trade zone (FTZ) dedicated to China-ASEAN cooperation, Guangxi has risen to the forefront of China’s trade and cooperation with ASEAN in recent years.

According to the Nanning Customs, the region’s trade with ASEAN grew from 74.75 billion yuan (about $10 billion) in 2012 to 281.11 billion yuan in 2022. ASEAN had been Guangxi’s top trading partner for 23 consecutive years by the end of 2022.

By the end of June, a total of 463 financial institutions and enterprises had settled in the area, and the area’s digital economy companies had surpassed 5,500 in number.

Xi urged Guangxi to strengthen the construction and application of information technology, and inject new impetus into advancing high-level opening up and promoting cooperation with ASEAN.

Emphasizing the need to strengthen internal and external connection and build a more dynamic open economy, Xi called for accelerating the development and opening up of the Beibu Gulf economic zone and the Pearl River-Xijiang Economic Belt, and improving river-rail-sea intermodal transport capabilities and automation levels.

Xi urged to actively serve the construction of a China-ASEAN community with a shared future, adding that cooperation with ASEAN countries in fields such as commerce, labor, industry, technology and education should be deepened and expanded to create a convenient place for domestic and international dual-circulation market operations, and deeply integrate into the Belt and Road cooperation.

(With input from Xinhua)


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