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Rail service to boost exchanges between China, Vietnam

Xinhua | December 29, 2023

This aerial photo taken on Dec. 27, 2023 shows a bullet train waiting for departure at Dongxingshi Railway Station in Dongxing, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (China Railway Nanning Bureau Group Co., Ltd./Handout via Xinhua)

A new railway line connecting Dongxing city at the China-Vietnam border to China's railway network opened to traffic on Wednesday, and is expected to boost trade and tourism in the border area and strengthen cooperation between the two countries.

The Fangchenggang-Dongxing Railway, linking Dongxing to Fangchenggang in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, stretches 47 kilometers and has a designed speed of 200 km per hour. It reduces the travel time betwe i en the cities from 90 to 20 minutes.

According to China State Railway Group, it is a dual-purpose line that handles both passenger and freight transportation.

As Dongxing's first railway, the line is expected to boost tourism, trade, personnel and economic exchanges between China and Southeast Asia.

Zhao Quan, director of the customer service center of China Railway Nanning Group, outlined plans for the initial phase of operations, with six daily passenger trains scheduled.

Travel times from Dongxing to Guangxi's Beihai and the capital city of Nanning are now as fast as 19 and 73 minutes, respectively, with future adjustments to be tailored to passenger numbers, Zhao said.

Passenger Liu Yuyi told China Daily: "We've been looking forward to this for a long time. The railway makes it more convenient for tourists to visit Vietnam.

"It would be even better if the railway extended to Vietnam. I look forward to that too."

The border port processes an average of 20,000 entries and exits every day, including border residents and tourists engaged in cross-border activities, according to Chu Qiaoyang, deputy manager of Dongxing Railway Station.

With the line's operation, Dongxing will embrace an increase in tourists, Chu said.

Luo Zhen, vice-mayor of Fangchenggang, highlighted the significance of the railway situated at the border in promoting cooperation between China and Vietnam and driving regional economic development.

"It plays an important role in strengthening China's political, economic and trade ties with ASEAN countries, as well as in better integration with the Belt and Road Initiative, supporting Fangchenggang's pivotal role as the gateway to ASEAN," Luo added.

The railway's operation comes as China and Vietnam have agreed to further cooperation on a number of rail projects along the border.

Earlier this month, the leaders of the two countries met in Hanoi and vowed to strengthen bilateral ties and build a community with a shared future that carries strategic significance.

China has remained Vietnam's biggest trading partner for years, while Vietnam is China's biggest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.