China's new national energy leading group, headed by Premier Wen Jiabao, convened its first meeting on Thursday.
Alongside Wen, vice premiers Huang Ju and Zeng Peiyan are serving as deputy directors of the group.
At Thursday's meeting Wen outlined the group's responsibilities, saying it is in charge of energy strategy and major policies, the development and conservation of energy resources, energy security and emergency responses as well as energy cooperation with foreign parties.
Energy is an important strategic issue concerning China's economic growth, social stability and national security, said Wen, adding that the central government attaches great importance to the issue.
Group members must fully appreciate the significance and urgency of energy work in China, Wen said.
At the meeting it was agreed that the strategic importance of energy must be emphasized.
In recent years, China has suffered serious energy supply shortages, which has restricted the country's economic and social progress. The country's industrialization, urbanization and modernization have created an increased demand for energy.
The group decided to make mid- and long-term national plans for energy development to adjust the country's energy structure.
Priority is to be given to coal mining and power supply projects. Particular effort will go toward building large coal production bases, enhancing coal mining technologies and improving coal supply routes.
It was agreed that power supply projects, power grid construction and the development of key equipment in the power industry are all areas that need improvement.
(China Daily June 4, 2005)