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Xi calls for high-quality growth through developing Yangtze River economic belt

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, speaks at a symposium on promoting the development of the Yangtze River economic belt in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, April 26, 2018. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

WUHAN, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday called for achieving high-quality economic growth through developing the Yangtze River economic belt.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at a symposium on promoting the development of the Yangtze River economic belt in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.

He stressed the importance of enhancing reform and innovation, strategic coordination as well as planning and guiding in developing the economic belt.

"It is a major decision made by the CPC Central Committee and a major strategy concerning overall national development to promote the development of the Yangtze River economic belt," Xi said.

He called for all-out efforts to protect the Yangtze River, saying there should be no large-scale development of the river.

"In developing the economic belt, the key lies in properly dealing with the relationship between pressing ahead on the whole and making breakthroughs in key areas, between ecological environment protection and economic development, between making an overall plan and making unremitting efforts, between getting rid of old growth engines and cultivating new engines, and between developing individually and developing in a coordinated way," he said.

Before the symposium, Xi on Tuesday inspected Hubei Xingfa Chemicals Group, China's largest fine phosphoric chemicals maker and the largest relocated company in the Three Gorges Reservoir region.

"The Yangtze River is China's mother river, and we must protect it, while enterprises are the major force in protecting and building the ecological environment of the river," he said.

"We must move all polluting enterprises from along the Yangtze River with resolve... to root out hidden dangers of pollution," he stressed.

Xi called for putting restoration of the river's ecological environment high on the agenda in developing the Yangtze River economic belt.

"When we say there should be no large-scale development, it does not mean we cannot develop it at all, but we should stay away from destructive development of the river, and we should follow a green development path which puts ecology first," Xi said.

Also on Tuesday, Xi inspected the Three Gorges Project and the dam area's neighboring ecological environment.

Calling the Three Gorges Project a crucial piece of high-end equipment for the nation and a major symbol of China's development since the reform and opening-up, Xi stressed the importance of having the capability to make really important high-end equipment "using our own hands."

"To get core and key technology, begging alms won't work," Xi said. "We must rely on our own hard work."

On Wednesday morning, Xi inspected the ecological environment and development along the Yangtze River by ship.

Describing restoration of the river's ecological environment "an arduous task that the new era has entrusted to us" and "the high expectations of the people," Xi called for top priority to be given to stopping unplanned development and capping the total pollution discharge.

"We must not allow the ecological environment of the Yangtze River to continue deteriorating in the hands of our generation, and we must leave our descendants a clean and beautiful Yangtze River," he said.

On Thursday afternoon, Xi chaired a symposium on promoting the development of the Yangtze River economic belt.

"We must proceed from the long-term interests of the Chinese nation to put restoring the ecological environment of the Yangtze River at a dominant position, making all-out efforts to protect it, and forbidding large-scale development of the river," he said.

The aim is to build the economic belt into a golden economic belt featuring more beautiful ecology, more smooth transport, more coordinated economy, more integrated market and more scientific mechanisms, he said.

Saying that difficulties and challenges remain in developing the Yangtze River economic belt, Xi made five suggestions to promote the development of the Yangtze River economic belt.

First, efforts should be made to properly deal with the relationship between pressing ahead on the whole and making breakthroughs in key areas, so as to protect and restore the ecological environment of the Yangtze River in all aspects.

Second, efforts should be made to properly deal with the relationship between ecological environment protection and economic development, and explore a new path which puts ecology first while pursuing green development.

Third, efforts should be made to properly deal with the relationship between making an overall plan and making unremitting efforts, and stick to a single blueprint until the end.

Fourth, efforts should be made to properly deal with the relationship between getting rid of old growth engines and cultivating new engines, and facilitate the establishment of a modern economic system for the Yangtze River economic belt.

Finally, efforts should be made to properly deal with the relationship between developing individually and developing in a coordinated way so as to make the economic belt an efficient economic entity.

Vice Premier Han Zheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and also head of the leading group for promoting the development of the Yangtze River economic belt, addressed the symposium.

[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]