KUNMING, June 10 (Xinhua) -- The first expressway linking southwest China's Yunnan Province and Vietnam will open to traffic next year, local authorities confirmed Sunday.
The 600-km journey from Kunming, provincial capital of Yunnan, to Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, will be reduced to six to seven hours from 12-plus hours, according to the provincial communication department of Yunnan.
China and Vietnam will be connected by expressway once construction on a 250-km expressway is finished in Vietnam, and linking the countries via expressway will greatly reduce transportation costs and boost the regional economy.
China and Vietnam started upgrading local expressways and roads to connect the cross-border expressway in 2008 and 2009, respectively, the department said.
The expressway is part of Yunnan's Bridgehead Strategy, which aims to build a social and economic corridor toward South Asia and Southeast Asia. The mountainous province borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
Three other cross-border highways leading to Thailand, Myanmar and India are also under construction.