China is planning to build a massive fish processing facility near its border with Laos, in an effort to improve its fish stocks and bolster its fishing industry.
The South China Sea is one of the biggest economic opportunities in Asia, with an estimated $US8 billion worth of trade in the region in 2019.
But the vast waters have long been used as a dumping ground for illegal fishing and a major source of pollution.
The country has built several large fish processing facilities in the past, but it is unclear how much money has been spent on upgrading the existing facility in Sichuan.
In the early 1980s, the Sichu State Agricultural Development and Trade Corporation, which oversees Sichou, started building a new fish processing and fish export terminal.
But the project fell through amid a political crisis that saw the then-prime minister Zhou Enlai step down, and a decade later, former president Jiang Zemin stepped in to lead the government.
The government has since been rebuilding the facility and is now planning to complete the entire project.
Zhou Enlay said the project would provide an economic boost for Sichuo, and he said he would take the initiative to improve the fish industry in the province, which is known for its thriving industry.
Zu Hao, a former Sichian official and former trade minister, said the facility would improve the quality of fish sold to other countries, and would also boost the fish stocks in the area.
He said it would also increase Sichui’s reputation as a fishing hub, and that it was also a good place to invest in the country’s future.
“I’m not sure that we will see any other country building fish processing plants like this,” he said.
“But we are ready to take this step.”
But Mr Zhu said the company would need government support.
“The project is very important to our people.
We need support from the government, and if we don’t have that, it will be difficult for us to build this facility,” he added.