Wen Jiabao´s press conference 03-15-2004 00:34

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says maintaining stable and rapid economic growth and solving the problems concerning farmers will be the top priorities of his government this year. He outlined his plans at a press conference today following the conclusion of the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing. While the press conference devoted much time to economic issues, the premier also answered questions on Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.

As he outlined in his government report, Premier Wen Jiabao said the most important task for his government was to continue pushing for economic growth while at the same time advancing economic reforms. He also promised that the government would work harder to address the difficulties faced by Chinese farmers, who have seen a growing income gap with the urban people in recent years. Among the measures already outlined by Premier Wen was the gradual abolition, in five years, of the agricultural tax.

To achieve economic stability, Wen said the government needed to address the problems resulting from rapid economic growth. He cited excessive investment, bottlenecks in energy supply, transportation services and important raw materials, decreases in grain output for several consecutive years as well as rising consumer prices.

Wen said: "We must realize the severity of these problems. The rise in the marketization level and China's wider opening to the outside world are adding difficulty to macro-economic control. This situation requires the government to take effective measures to properly remedy these problems so as to maintain stable economic growth. "

On the issue of Taiwan, Wen reiterated that it was an internal affair of China that should be settled by the Chinese people. He noted that Taiwan and the mainland are part of one China, and that China's sovereignty over Taiwan was recognized by the international community.

Wen said: "Certain people within the Taiwan authorities have attempted to use democracy to push a referendum which aims to pave the way for Taiwan's independence. The moves have in fact sabotaged the one China principle commonly recognized by the international community, and also endangered stability across the Taiwan Straits".

Wen Jiabao expressed the hope that the US and other countries will adhere to the One China principle, so as to maintain stability in the region and contribute to the peaceful reunification of China.

As for the development of Hong Kong and Macao, Wen Jiabao reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to maintaining long-term stability and prosperity in the two regions. He said the central government will continue to uphold the principle of "One country, two systems".

Premier Wen expressed the hope that the people of Hong Kong will unite and keep the long term and fundamental interests in mind to work together for a better future.


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