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BEIJING, China, Dec 16 — President Xi Jinping has urged the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to fully tap its resources and strengths to promote the coastal area’s high-quality development and continuously expand opening to both the domestic and international markets.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks during an inspection tour of Guangxi from Thursday to Friday.

It was the third time since 2012 that Xi visited Guangxi, a frontier and window of China’s opening-up and cooperation with the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

When Xi visited the China-ASEAN Information Harbor Co Ltd in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi, on Thursday, he said the development of the information harbor, which was launched in 2015 in order to build a digital Silk Road between China and ASEAN, is important in promoting Belt and Road cooperation and enhancing connectivity between China and ASEAN countries.

Guangxi should take a proactive role and leverage its pivotal position to strengthen the development and application of informatization, injecting new momentum into China-ASEAN cooperation, he said.

The president’s inspection tour came directly after he concluded a state visit to Vietnam on Wednesday and reached an agreement with the Vietnamese side to build a China-Vietnam community with a shared future that carries strategic significance.

Xi said the building of the bilateral community will further benefit the opening-up and development of Guangxi, which borders Vietnam, and bring a bright future to the region.

Vietnam has been Guangxi’s largest trading partner since 1999, with bilateral imports and exports in the first 11 months of this year reaching 222.97 billion yuan ($31.33 billion), representing year-on-year growth of 31 percent, according to Nanning Customs.

On Thursday morning, Xi also visited the Panlong community in Liangqing district of Nanning, where more than 8,000 people from 15 different ethnic groups live.

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As Guangxi is home to many ethnic groups in China, Xi stressed the importance of community-level efforts to build Guangxi into a demonstration zone for forging a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation and called on the region to further enhance ethnic unity.

He said that not a single ethnic group should be left behind in the building of a modern socialist country in all respects.

In Laibin city on Thursday afternoon, Xi visited a sugarcane base and a sugar company where he learned about the planting and harvesting of sugarcane and the development of the sugar industry.

The president urged Guangxi, the country’s major sucrose production base, to further develop its characteristic sugar industry in order to play a bigger role in ensuring national sugar security and increasing sugarcane farmers’ incomes.

Noting that China’s sugar industry faces fierce international competition, Xi called for efforts to boost sci-tech innovation, extend the industrial chain and increase added value to promote the industry’s high-quality development.

Before concluding the inspection on Friday, Xi heard a work report by the autonomous region’s senior Party and government officials about Guangxi’s development.

To accelerate the building of a modern industrial system, he underlined the need for Guangxi to focus on its competitive industries and mobilize key resources to develop several pillar industries reflecting its own characteristics and strengths.

Xi said the region should give greater prominence to sci-tech innovation, make breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields and increase efforts in transforming technologies and upgrading products.

The region should vigorously develop its marine economy, forestry industry and cultural tourism, among others, he said.

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Xi urged efforts to accelerate the development and opening-up of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone and the Pearl River-Xijiang River Economic Belt, to build Guangxi into an important strategic hinterland for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

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