China has developed a new five-year program for western development, aiming to realize sound and fast economic growth in the region.
The 11th Five-Year Program for 2006-2010 period was approved by the executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday.
According to the program, new breakthroughs are expected to be made in infrastructure construction and ecological protection in the five-year period. That includes improvements to the transportation network and water facilities.
China launched the western development strategy in 2000 to boost economic growth in the impoverished region. The government adopted policies to encourage investors to invest in the west. The lack of infrastructure has become a major barrier to investment.
The program also emphasizes rural development of the west to raise income of farmers and herders, who account for a majority of the population in the region.
According to the program, apart from increasing government spending in the west, China will make more efforts to further open up the western region to foreign investors and develop trade with neighboring nations.
The meeting stressed that western areas should speed up their reforms to enhance the quality of economic development under new mechanisms. It encouraged eastern industries to move to the west.
(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2006)