President Jiang Zemin reaffirmed yesterday in Beijing the fundamental status of agriculture in China's national economic development.
The State has given top priority to strengthening agriculture and increasing farmers' income in drafting the outline of the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05), and has always made it a guiding principle to consolidate and strengthen the fundamental status of agriculture.
Jiang made the remarks in separate group meetings of deputies from Shaanxi and Hunan provinces at the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC), in session since Monday. He also exchanged views on the Outline of the 10th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development delivered by Premier Zhu Rongji at the opening ceremony of the current NPC session.
Jiang said developing the western region is an important strategic decision made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and he wished a good beginning for the implementation of the strategy.
The next five to 10 years are a critical time for China's national economic and social development, Jiang stressed.
Jiang spoke highly of the great achievements Shaanxi has made in economic and social development since the implementation of the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000) and the conscientious efforts the province has exerted to carry out the various policies and decisions of the CPC Central Committee.
Jiang noted both the central and local governments have given great importance to the strategy of developing the western region since its launch more than a year ago.
To well implement the western development strategy, Jiang said, greater efforts are needed. They include construction of infrastructure facilities and protection of the ecological environment.
Jiang said a developed transport system, improved telecom facilities and well-built water conservancy projects can give full play to rich local resources in the western region.
To build a sound ecological environment in the western region, Jiang called for efforts to return hilly and low-yielding farmland to forested land, prevent and control the spreading of desert in a planned manner.