|Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (C) speaks at a meeting on the development program of China's west and the revitalization of the northeast old industrial bases in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 9, 2012. Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (2nd R) also attended the meeting. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- China will continue to boost the development of the country's less-developed western and northeastern regions, according to a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council Monday.
The meeting, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, has approved guidelines for the development program of China's west and the revitalization of the northeast old industrial bases in the country's 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), according to the statement.
The two regions have been at a new starting point in history, said the statement.
The vast western region is still a "short plate" in the country's regional development, and achieving its prosperity is an important but difficult task in the building of an all-round well-off society, it said.
Priority should be given to the implementation of the strategy of large-scale development of the western region in the country's overall regional development scheme, to maintain its continued stable and rapid economic and social development, said the statement.
Efforts should be undertaken to keep the growth of the regional GDP and the residents' income higher than the national average in the five-year period, it said.
More emphasis should be put on the construction of "development priority zones" with their own development focus and priority according to their environmental features, natural resources, current development stage and development potential, according to the statement.
The State Council also underscored the importance of infrastructure construction, environment protection, promotion of advanced industries and agriculture, and the development of small towns and villages, education and opening-up.
The statement said that there were still unsolved systematic and structural problems that have restricted the development of China's northeastern region, and that local governments should continue to deepen reform and accelerate transformation of development pattern in the 12th Five-Year Plan period.
The State Council urged those involved to make vigorous efforts to promote agricultural development, further perfect modern industries, and optimize regional development strategy in the northeastern provinces.
Local governments should also work to ensure sustainable development of resource-rich cities, improve infrastructures, enhance environmental protection, boost employment and affordable housing construction, and deepen reforms of state-owned enterprises while accelerating the growth of the private sector.
The more developed eastern and central provinces should offer better assistance to the development of these regions, the statement said.