Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli (C) presides over a meeting on promoting green development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt in Beijing, capital of China, June 9, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli called for green development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt on Friday.
"We should prioritize the protection and repair of the Yangtze River's environment and strive to make the Yangtze River Economic Belt into a demonstration of innovation-driven, coordinated development," said Zhang.
The vice premier emphasized water resource protection, waterway construction, industrial upgrades and urbanization along the river, as well as the connection between the Belt and Road and Yangtze River Economic Belt and market integration along the river.
The Yangtze, the world's third-longest river, runs through nine Chinese provinces and two municipalities, covering 2.05 million square km.
The Yangtze River Economic Belt, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the national total in terms of both population and GDP, is considered a new growth engine for the country, reducing the development gap between east, central and western regions.
In September 2014, China announced measures aimed at the development of the belt. Twenty-seven cities along the river have jointly established a regional platform for trade in natural resources and established an ecological compensation system along the upper, middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze.
Provinces and municipalities have also formulated measures to boost cooperation in customs clearance, urban development as well as tourism.