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The term Beiyang (Chinese: 北洋; pinyin: Běiyáng; Wade-Giles: Peiyang; meaning 'Northern Ocean') originated toward the end of the Qing dynasty, and it referred to the coastal areas of Zhili (Traditional Chinese:直隸, Simplified Chinese: 直隶, pinyin: Zhílì) (today's Hebei), Liaoning, and Shandong in northeast China.
Minister of Beiyang's (北洋通商大臣) position was held by the Viceroy of Zhili. Its main responsibilities were trade relations and occasionally foreign affairs.
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