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State Council approves plan to boost development of the west

By Hu Yongqi | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-12-26 09:19

The guideline on Western China Development for 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) was approved at a State Council meeting on Friday to boost social and economic development of the vast region.

It was the latest move of the Western China Development, a campaign that started in 1999. Details were not immediately available.

Premier Li Keqiang, who presided over the meeting, urged western China to align with national strategies of Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River Economic Belt to achieve a healthy and sustainable growth.

The premier called on the region to focus on infrastructure and environmental protection, attracting high-quality talents, building city clusters suitable to local conditions and proceed with targeted poverty relief.

In addition to support from the central government and regions in the east, western China should also strengthen reform and innovation by cultivating a cost-effective market to attract investors and explore growth potentials, Li said.

The economy is geographically composed of four major parts, namely the east, the northeast, the central and western China. Before this guideline, the central government had approved plans to boost development of the northeastern and central China.

Western China consists of six provinces and one municipality, which have about 28 percent of the country's population on 70 percent of its land. More than 30 million poverty-stricken people were living in the west by 2015, accounting for more than half of the total poor population.

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