Xinjiang to be "core" of Silk Road Economic Belt
2015/03/10

BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is readying itself to be a "core area" of the Silk Road Economic Belt, a senior official said Tuesday.

In the heart of Asia, Xinjiang can be pivotal as China opens up to landlocked central Asia, said Zhang Chunxian, secretary of the Xinjiang Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), while attending the annual parliamentary session in Beijing.

"East of the region is a domestic population of about 1.3 billion, while, to the west, is almost the same number of foreigners," he said.

"Core area" means a center of finance, communications, health, trade and logistics, culture and education, he said.

Xinjiang now has cargo trains linking Urumqi, the regional capital, to Kazakstan, Turkey and Georgia. It takes only 16 to 18 days to transport cargo to Europe by rail, compared with about 40 days by sea, he said.

The region is also involved in energy cooperation with central and west Asia as well as Russia and Pakistan, said Huang Wei, vice chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, while pointing out difficulties Xinjiang faces, including poor infrastructure, an unbalanced economic structure and lack of skilled people.

STABILITY

In regional security terms, Xinjiang remains stable, despite terror attacks.

"Violent terror attacks have provoked strong condemnation and opposition in the region," said Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, during the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature.

With the concerted efforts of all ethnic groups, violent terrorism was dealt with in accordance with law, he said.

"A number of violent terrorist attacks were thwarted," he said.

He lauded the relatives of identified terrorists that had assisted the authorities in their investigations.

Che Jun, deputy secretary of the CPC Xinjiang Regional Committee, said about 95 percent of potential attacks in Xinjiang had been stopped thanks to public reports.

"It shows that terrorism is the enemy of all the people in Xinjiang," Che said.

Education to maintain stability has also been enhanced, with solutions related to ideas, culture, convention or religion, Shohrat Zakir said.

Zhang Chunxian said Xinjiang Police had contributed to the stability of the entire country.

Of the number of the country's police who had died during service last year, 31 percent were from the Xinjiang police, he said.

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