Aerial photo taken on April 1, 2017 shows Xiongxian County, north China's Hebei Province.
Highways were reported to be clogged and people were camping outside real estate agents' offices in the rush to buy property thought to be inside the Xiongan New Area, 100km south of Beijing in Hebei province.
Zhang was speaking at a conference on coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
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China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, which is making the nation's first home-grown aircraft carrier, has become the first central government-owned enterprise to pledge to relocate some of its businesses into the Xiongan New Area.
Shares related to Xiongan New Area in Heibei Province, described as "a thousand-year project" by the government, was surged by daily limit in the past three consecutive trading days. To build a green and intelligent city, to build an environment friendly city, to develop sophisticated industry and cultivate new energy resources, to provide better infrastructure and city service, to develop efficient and clean traffic network, to adjust the managing system and the functions of the government and to open up and develop new platform for worldwide cooperation. It houses Baiyangdian, which happens to be among the largest freshwater wetlands in northern China with over 140 lakes that cover an area of 360 square kilometers (139 square miles).
Zhang said plans for the new area should feature "high standards and high quality", and he stressed innovation, policy support, and environmental protection.
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The decision to establish the new area is part of a greater strategy, which China initiated in 2014, to jointly develop Beijing, the port city of Tianjin and Hebei to improve the region's economic structure, environment and public services, and bridge the gap between the capital and the industrial and rural areas surrounding it. The second covers 200 square kilometers and the third 2,000 square kilometers.
Quoting Xi, Zhang said authorities should coordinate efforts like moves in a chess game and phase out "non-capital functions" from Beijing in an orderly manner.
Shenzhen has grown from a fishing village into a bustling cosmopolitan city, while Pudong has turned from a wetland into China's financial hub.
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