Chinese President Xi Jinping (front) visits an exhibition about the development of Yanbian in Yanbian Korea Autonomous Prefecture, northeast China's Jilin Province, July 16, 2015. Xi made an inspection tour in Jilin from July 16 to 18. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
CHANGCHUN, July 18 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping has stressed the importance of a pilot zone in northeast China's Jilin Province and demanded it be built into an example of opening up.
During his inspection tour to Jilin Province from Thursday to Saturday, the president visited Yanbian, home to China's largest Korean ethnic minority population and center of the Changchun-Jilin-Tumen Development Pilot Zone.
The pilot zone is of great significance for the opening of border areas and international cooperation in Northeast Asia, he said.
The area is also important for economic restructuring of northeast China, which used to be a major heavy industrial hub but has suffered economic setback for years, he added.
Xi urged the authorities of the pilot zone to carefully plan its development, deploy its resources intensively and efficiently, and build it into an example of opening up in the northeast.
Following the first stop at the development zone, Xi visited a small village in Yanbian, talking to farmers along the paddy field and dropping by the village community center and farmers' houses.
Stressing the importance of food safety to the country, Xi promised to offer more support to farming areas so that the local economy will improve and farmers can increase their income through developing agriculture.
At the village community center, the president saw villagers rehearsing a traditional dance and stopped to appreciate the performance and take photos with villagers, extending them his best wishes.
At the house of Li Longzhi, a villager and farmer, Xi sat down with the host, listening to Li and his friends chat about changes in the village.
Xi pledged that the country will offer a policy arrangement to ensure a sustainable increase in farmers' income.
He also instructed villages and local governments to preserve the traditions of the Korean ethnic group when planning the development of rural communities.