Premier Li Keqiang highlighted on Tuesday the importance of boosting the strength of China's western region in wind, solar and hydroelectric power and mineral resources, and in developing major clean energy bases to promote the growth of the region.
He urged steps to give play to the leading role of innovation in science and technology and foster industries with regional characteristics and emerging sectors to vitalize the region, which comprises 12 provincial-level areas, including the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and the Tibet autonomous region.
The premier's remarks came as he presided over a meeting of a State Council leading group dedicated to the development of the western region, which reviewed and passed an action plan on the region's development for the next five years.
Li pledged support for the area's traditional sectors in their upgrading to the medium and high end of industry chains, saying that the region should improve the level of energy exploration and exploitation and the efficiency of tapping sources of clean energy.
Western areas should bolster their capacity in ensuring the supply of energy and key resources and help safeguard the stability and security of industry and supply chains, he said.
The region should lift the level of modernization in its agricultural and animal husbandry sector and make proactive efforts to develop the tourism and cultural sectors, he added.
It is important to move forward with the development of key transport corridors, hubs and hydraulic engineering projects, improve the level of new infrastructure and accelerate efforts in ecological protection and restoration and in environmental governance, Li said.
The economy of China's western region grew by 3.3 percent year-on-year in 2020, higher than the national average of 2.3 percent. The per capita income of residents in the western region increased 6 percent on a yearly basis, compared with a 4.6 percent yearly growth rate in more developed eastern areas.
The premier also underlined the role of reform and opening-up in spurring the growth of the area, saying that the western region must have a greater sense of urgency in improving the vitality of its economy.
He urged the authorities in western areas to create a better business environment, take stronger measures to facilitate entrepreneurship, uphold fair competition and improve government services.
Li also pledged further measures to offer more equitable public services, with steps to make compulsory education, basic healthcare and housing more accessible.