WELLINGTON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua)

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by Xinhua writers Xu Liyu David Johnson Jersey , Yan Jie, Liu Xiuling

BEIJING, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- An Jing and Wen Fang of China and Jacel Kiram of the Philippines appear to have little in common, live many kilometers apart and speak different languages. But sometimes they indulge in small talk on the Chinese smartphone app WeChat.

They meet too -- often in China. Their rendezvous is a living testimony to the ancestral bond they share from an ancient Philippine family.

In 1417, a large goodwill mission led by three kings of Sulu, in what is now the southern Philippines, ploughed through the Pacific Ocean to China to pay tribute to the emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

Emperor Yong Le reciprocated with fine hospitality and entertainment worthy of royalty.

On his way home Josh Rosen Jersey , Paduka Pahala, the East King of Sulu, died of a disease in Dezhou, a city in east China's Shandong province. The Ming Dynasty emperor commissioned artisans to build a tomb for the king, which still stands today in the Chinese city.

The descendants of Paduka Pahala remained in China as grave keepers and were attended to by three Chinese Muslim families who relocated to live with them. They picked up the surnames An and Wen during the Qing Dynasty, and now more than 3,700 descendants live in different parts of China.

Kiram Cheap Arizona Cardinals Jerseys , a Sulu princess who was in Dezhou this week for the 600th anniversary of the Sulu king's journey to China, told Xinhua she felt lucky to trace the route of her ancestors centuries ago.

"This visit of ours to our relatives here in China would mean another 600 years for us to cherish. The Philippines and China can tighten their bond using the story that dates back to the 14th century," Kiram said.


The family link between Sulu and its descendants in China has evolved into frequent exchanges between the two countries.

Wen Haijun and An Yanchun, both 18th-generation descendants, called their trip to the Philippines "a journey back home."

"Then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo met us. She told us the story of the King of Sulu and his descendants served as the best witness to the long-running friendship between the two countries," Wen said.

For decades, the descendants living in the Philippines and ambassadors of the Southeast Asian nation have frequented the city of Dezhou to rekindle the friendship.

"Those living in Sulu and here share an aspiration to help bring the two countries closer through family exchanges Josh Bynes Cardinals Jersey ," An said.

The route the Sulu kings took for their journey was part of the ancient Maritime Silk Road that linked China with the rest of the world.

Six hundred years on, the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is strengthening ties between China and the Philippines.

A business conference held in Manila, capital of the Philippines, in July drew firms from Dezhou and elsewhere in China, the latest in a series of events aimed at boosting commercial links between the two countries.

For Wang Shoudong Jamar Taylor Cardinals Jersey , a history professor at Dezhou University who specializes in the Sulu kings' connections with China, celebrating the journey 600 years ago is an opportunity for both countries in many ways.

It will "promote people-to-people exchanges and bring the hearts and minds of the two peoples together," Wang said.

As for Kiram, her next visit to China is already in the making. Now, Dezhou is home away from home, she said.

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WELLINGTON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Freight was rolling again on Friday morning on New Zealand South Island's Main North Line, 10 months after last November's 7.8-magnitude Kaikoura earthquake.

The first train carrying goods from Picton arrived in Christchurch on Friday, marking the start of a five-nights-per-week service, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said in a statement.

"Keeping freight flowing easily and efficiently around New Zealand is critical to our economic growth and keeping our communities connected," Bridges said Andre Smith Cardinals Jersey , adding that having this key freight service running again is "an immense achievement," which will take pressure off the inland routes while helping with the rebuild of State Highway 1 during the day.

"Today's first rail services, even in a limited capacity, will take around 2,000 trucks off the road each month, building to 4,000 trucks when the line is fully operating again by the end of the year Tre Boston Cardinals Jersey ," Bridges said.

Following November's quake, there were close to 60 major damage sites, including tunnels, bridges and embankments, and the line had been buried under more than 100 slips and landslides, he said, adding that approximately 60 bridges were damaged and repairs required at more than 750 sites.

Repairs have been conducted by over 1 Ricky Seals-Jones Cardinals Jersey ,500 workers from KiwiRail, the NZ Transport Agency and their partners in the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance, according to the minister.

"The government is committed to restoring the road and rail services along this important coastal corridor," Bridges said, adding that a range of business support packages were provided for the tourism industry and primary sector to rebuild the local economy.

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