YUNNAN GROWS AS A HUB OF REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY AND TRADE
This means the country aims to put in place infrastructural facilities to make the Yunnan province a hub of commercial activities of regional countries. The province borders Myanmar, Viet Nam and Laos. In the close vicinity are the countries like India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. The airport is known as Kunming Changshui International Airport, the primary airport of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. The new airport, put in operation in 2012, has two runways and a terminal measuring 5,902,000 sq ft, the second largest terminal building in China. The terminal has 66 gates with jet bridges.
As early as 2000 years ago, the Southern Silk Road, which meandered from Sichuan to Yunnan and further extended to Myanmar, India and the Western world, was already an important pathway for ancient China’s outbound transport, trade and cultural exchanges and made great contribution to world civilisation.
Taking full advantage of strategic opportunities offered by economic globalisation and regional integration Yunnan is playing an important role in building of closer regional economic cooperation.
To get on the fast track to reach the goal, Yunnan is developing infrastructure of multimodal transport system, energy-resources pipelines, power grids and telecommunications for both outbound connection with Southeast Asia and South Asia, and China’s southwestern, central and eastern areas.
The province is launching pilot programmes on economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges with outside world.
Yunnan, which is nearly three times bigger than Bangladesh in size, is preparing itself to play a pivotal role in cementing bonds of friendship among the countries in Asia. The ancient Tea-Horse Road at Nakely in Pu’er, an hour’s drive from Kunming, is reminiscent of China’s commercial links with neighbouring countries more than a century ago.
Moving around Pu’er, a municipality of the Yunnan province, one will get to trace the period of Qing Dynasty (1875-1905), when the ancient outpost at Nakely on the Tea-Horse Road was bustling with movement of caravans. It was only way for the horse bangs to go abroad. Also many moving stories happened there over the past thousands of years.
Tea plantations on terraces of numerous hills on two sides of roads in Pu’er give the scintillating view as well as an idea about the Chinese passion for a drink which locals believe can cure unknown diseases. People all over China love to take green tea, the production of which began more than 200 years ago.
The people have since been consuming the tea leaves as medicine. Pu’er also produces 50 tonnes of pecan/walnut annually against global production of 300,000 tonnes. But the growers there are worried about pest attack on the pecan plants. To get rid of the problem growers cut off the stem and do grafting with a stem of another tree to let the tree grow and bear fruits, which is quite an innovation. The province that exports a variety of products such as chemicals, non-ferrous metals, cigarettes, tea, machinery, light industrial products and medicines earning roughly around US$26 billion annually with a surplus balance of more than $10 billion.
The writer is a News Editor of theindependent who returned recently after a China visit
DECEMBER 14, 2014