Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects Tieshan Port in Beihai City of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, April 19, 2017. Xi visited the south China region from Wednesday to Friday. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
NANNING, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to capitalize on its advantages and play a bigger role in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Guangxi should make full use of its geographical location and the potential of coastlines, rivers and border areas to promote opening up, Xi said during a visit to the south China region from Wednesday to Friday.
At Tieshan Port in Guangxi's Beihai City, Xi learned about trade cooperation between Guangxi and ASEAN countries through ports and the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone and spoke highly of the port's prospects.
Established in 2006, the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone comprises six cities: Nanning, Beihai, Qinzhou, Fangchenggang, Yulin and Chongzuo. It has become increasingly important in connecting southwest and central China with southeast Asian countries.
As an important part of the economic zone, Tieshan Port saw a big boost in annual cargo handling capacity in recent years, from over 1 million tonnes to more than 20 million tonnes.
The president stressed the role of ports in the Maritime Silk Road development, urging sound management and operation of the ports at Beibu Gulf to make bigger contribution to Guangxi's development and the Belt and Road Initiative.
"The Belt and Road Initiative accords with the will of the people, and we should advance opening up and development under the framework," he told workers at the port.
In Nanning, the president visited Alnan Aluminum Inc. and Nanning-Zhongguancun innovation demonstration base, where he described the importance of innovation in driving economic growth.
Innovation is the primary impetus for growth, and state-owned enterprises should lead the efforts to boost innovation, Xi said.
He called for more efficient government services and advanced technology support to foster an attractive system to encourage innovation.
Xi also visited a mangrove conservation area in the Beihai Golden Bay and a wetland park in Nanning, where he asked authorities to better safeguard the environment.
In a meeting with grass-roots representatives, Xi listened to their suggestions and expectations for the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, asking them to offer detailed and practical advice to central policymakers.
After being briefed on economic and social development in Guangxi, Xi urged local authorities to take further steps to advance industrial restructuring, transform growth models, improve innovation and deepen reform.
Xi stressed coordinated efforts to reduce poverty and strengthen ethnic unity, demanding targeted measures to lift more people out of poverty.