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Vice Premier Urges Continued Efforts to Boost West Development

Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan has called for "unswerving" efforts to boost the development of the country's west to narrow the gap between eastern and western regions.

Zeng made the remarks at a recent working conference on the development of the western region in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province.

He said economic and social development in the western region is crucial to the coordinated development between different regions of the country.

People in the western region have benefited a lot from the development projects since the country launched the western development strategy seven years ago, said Zeng.

The country has invested a total of 555 billion yuan (US$72 billion) for 105 projects in the western region over the years to help the underdeveloped west catch up with the more prosperous east.

However, the western region is still below the national average level in terms of economic and social development and public services available to people, and the western development remains a heavy task for the country, Zeng noted.

He also stressed development in the west should not be pursued at the cost of environment, saying the western region should seek a sustainable development.

The country's western development strategy involves 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, covering 6.85 million square kilometers and with a combined population of about 367 million.

(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2007)

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