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city, northwestern Jiangsu sheng (province), eastern China. It is located in a gap in the southern portion of the Shandong Hills that constitutes a southwestern extension of the North China Plain. Through this gap flows the Feihuang River (in a former riverbed of the Huang He [Yellow River]), which joins the Si River and the Grand Canal, thus providing a water route southeastward to the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang). Situated at the junction of four neighbouring provinces (Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, and Shandong), Xuzhou since ancient times has been both a transportation centre and a strategic point that has been repeatedly fought over by warring parties. Pop. (2002 est.) city, 1,210,841; (2007 est.) urban agglom., 2,091,000.