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Zuun Khatavch–Bichigt


N 45° 45′ 43′′, E 116° 15′ 45′′
831 MASL
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Maintaining a sheep pen at a people’s commune in East United Banner in 1963. Under the traditional grazing system, almost half the livestock could perish during the long, harsh winters. Commune members reduced their losses by wintering their livestock in pens, where they could be fed grain with a higher nutritional value than hay and grass.

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Construction workers maintaining the track ballast of the newly completed special railway in the Khatavch Logistic Hub. The line links Zuun Khatavch–Bichigt on the Sino–Mongolia border with the expansive railway network of Northeast China. The Zuun Khatavch–Bichigt corridor forms the third Eurasian Land Bridge after the Manzhouli and Erenhot links, that allow goods from Mongolia to be transported directly to the major ports of Bohai Bay, notably Jinzhou, Dalian and Tianjin.

1700: The Greater Khingan Range divides the flat lowlands of the Northeast (Manchurian) Plain to the east and the high Mongolian Plateau to the west. Since Manchu took control of Inner Mongolia in the 17th century, the Chahar Mongols occupied the Xilingol grassland located to the west of Bogd Mountain, a subrange of the Greater Khingan. “Xilingol” means “foothill river” in Mongolian.


1750: The Bogd Mountain is the source of several rivers, including Ulagol River, which flows northwest and drains into the largest endorheic wetland in Inner Mongolia. A post was established at Uliastai to the northwest of the Ulagol Marsh in 1750.


1874: Colonel Sosnovskiy headed a research and trading mission (1874–1875) to China to search for new overland routes to the Chinese market and report on prospects for increased commerce and locations for consulates and factories. The expedition team visited Chahar in 1874.


1907: After the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), Russia and Japan signed a secret treaty dividing Manchuria and Mongolia into two spheres of interest in 1907.


1911: The Chinese government decided that Inner and Outer Mongolia should be formally incorporated into China, and it opened a colonization bureau in Urga (Ulaanbaatar).


1924: Outer Mongolia was established as Mongolian People’s Republic in 1924 and recognized by the Republic of China in 1946.


1939: Mengjiang, also known as Monkukuo and consisted of the previously Chinese provinces of Suiyuan and Chahar in Inner Mongolia, was formed as a puppet state of the Japanese Empire. Mengjiang returned to Chinese control after the defeat of the Japanese Empire in 1945.


1952: The East United Banner was established after Chahar Province was abolished and divided into parts of Inner Mongolia, Beijing, and Hebei. The East United Banner was divided into East and West Ujimqin Banner in 1956.


1958: Rapid conversion of grassland into arable land in the Ulagol basin started in the late 1950s, and more than 120,000 mu agriculture land was established by 1960.


1969: Land reclamation accelerated after the establishment of the Inner Mongolia Production and Construction Corps (bingtuan) in 1969. The total area of agriculture land reached 900,000 mu by 1971.


1977: The construction of the Ulagol Reservoir started in 1977 and completed in 1980.


1984: Uliastai (Wuliyasitai) Town was established as the administrative center of the East Ujimqin Banner.


1989: Located 65-kilometer northwest of the Uliastai, Zuun Khatavch (Zhu’en Gadabuqi), a temporary Mongolia–China transit point, was established. “Zuun” means “eastern,” and “Khatavch” means “threshold” in Mongolian.


1992: Zuun Khatavch was established as a seasonal port. The 5,000 square kilometers Ulagol Development Zone was established in the eastern part of the East Ujimqin Banner.


1998: The Ulagol Reservoir was destroyed by flooding.


2004: The construction of customs building and port facilities started, and Gadabuqi Town was established. The same year that Ulagol Wetlands Nature Preserve was established, Ulagol Reservoir was rebuilt to fulfill Ulagol Development Zone’s need for water.


2009: Zuun Khatavch Port was officially opened all year round in 2008. It was identified as one of the three key corridors connecting Liaoning Coastal Economic Belt in northeast China with Russia and Mongolia in 2009.


2010: Ulagol wetland dried up due to the over exploitation of water resources by the Ulagol Development Zone and other newly established coal mines in the region.


2014: A 300-kilometer railway connecting Zuun Khatavch Port and Zhusihua near the border between the East and West Ujimqin Banners was completed. From Zhusihua, the railway was further connected to a major railway for coal transportation between Xilingol and Tongliao.


2016: China and Mongolia agreed on the construction of a cross-border railway project, extending the Zhusihua–Zuun Khatavch Railway to Mongolia’s Khuut Coal Mine through Bichigt–Zuun Khatavch.


2020: The Uliastai–Zuun Khatavch section of the G306 Highway (Bohai Bay–Zuun Khatavch) was completed.

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