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Beijing to combine city districts to balance development

BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The State Council, or China's cabinet, has approved a plan which calls for combining four key administrative districts of Beijing, the national capital, into two larger ones.

According to the plan proposed by the Beijing Municipal Government, the former Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen and Xuanwu districts at the core of Beijing will merge to form the new Dongcheng and Xicheng districts.

The new Dongcheng District, composed of the former Dongcheng and Chongwen districts, would have an area of 41.84 square km and a permanent population of 865,000; the new Xicheng District, including the former Xicheng and Xuanwu districts, would cover 50.7 square km, with about 1.25 million residents, as outlined in the plan.

The adjustment of Beijing's administrative divisions was aimed at balancing the development of the city's core districts, said a spokesman with the municipal government.

Among the four core districts of Beijing, the development of Chongwen and Xuanwu in the south was lagging behind that of Dongcheng and Xicheng in the north, said the spokesman.

The action could optimize the district' social resources, reduce administrative costs and enhance Beijing's core area, he said.

Further, the move was expected to speed the renovation of Beijing's Old City, which basically included the four districts, and make for better protection of the historical cultural sites in the Old City, he said.

The municipal government has been striving to achieve the transformation of Beijing into a "world city", which has a global influence in terms of politics, economy and culture, by 2050.

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