China says it will spend some 50 million dollars over the next five years to protect key cultural relics along the ancient Silk Road trade route in the northwestern province of Xinjiang.
Xinhua says the project, to begin sometime this year, will be one of Beijing's most important undertakings in its efforts to protect and preserve its cultural heritage. Frescos, stoneware, bronzeware and pottery unearthed along the route are of high archeological value.
Details of the project are still under discussion.
The Silk Road linked China to central and western Asia, Persia and Europe between the second century BC (before Christ) and the 15th and 16th centuries. The route extended for more than 6,000 kilometers across the Xinjiang region.