Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference after the closing meeting of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 17, 2013. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premiers Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yandong, Wang Yang and Ma Kai met the press and answered questions here on Sunday. (Xinhua/Chen Jianli)
BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Premier Li Keqiang has promised to tackle pollution and food safety problems with "iron fist and firm resolution."
"We will upgrade China's economic development model to enable people to enjoy clean air, safe drinking water and food," Li told a press conference on Sunday shortly after the conclusion of the annual legislative session.
Li said he felt "upset" about the smog that recently shrouded Beijing and large parts of the country's eastern areas.
"To tackle the problems, we need iron fist, firm resolution and tough measures," said the 57-year-old premier while meeting the press for the first time after assuming the post.
Li was endorsed as the Chinese premier Friday at the first session of the 12th National People's Congress, the country's top legislature.
Li said the government will set deadlines to overhaul pollution problems in key areas and take measures to solve water and soil pollution.
Talking about food safety, Li said the issue is of utmost importance as it is directly related to people's health and life quality.
"The government should resolutely crack down on fake and substandard food products, and make those unscrupulous producers pay high prices," the premier said.
Li said the government will push forward scientific development, and deal with environment and food safety issues in a more transparent way.