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Top Xinjiang Official Promises Richer Future

A top official from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region vowed Thursday to more than triple its economic output by the year 2020.

"Our development goal is for the gross domestic product (GDP) to reach 772 billion yuan (US$95 billion) by 2020, with an average annual economic growth rate of 9.2 percent," said Wang Lequan, secretary of the Communist Party of China's Xinjiang Committee. The region's GDP last year was 220 billion yuan (US$27 billion).

He reported the region's development strategy to a delegation of high-ranking central authority officials led by Luo Gan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, who are visiting the region as part of celebrations marking the autonomous region's 50th anniversary.

The population of the region is 19.63 million, more than 60 percent of whom are recognized as being from ethnic minorities.

Wang said the region boasts rich natural resources with 138 kinds of mineral products having been found so far.

The region's oil reserves are estimated to account for 30 percent of China's total land oil resources, according to Wang.

Ismail Tiliwaldi, chairman of Xinjiang's regional government, has said previously that the region plans to overtake northeast China's Daqing to become the country's largest oil production area.

In the future, Xinjiang is expected to pump 100 million tons of crude oil a year, or nearly 60 percent of China's total output last year, helping the country quench its fast growing thirst for oil brought on by rapid economic growth.

Located in northwest China, Xinjiang neighbors eight countries, including Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Benefiting from such special geographical conditions, Xinjiang will take active measures to explore markets in Central Asia, Western Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe, Wang said.

(China Daily September 30, 2005)

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