China’s Xi calls for Yangtze River Delta economic and energy powerhouse

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday stressed the need to make major new economic, energy and environmental breakthroughs in the development of the vast Yangtze River Delta region to enhance industrial capabilities, state media reported.

“The overall strength and comprehensive competitiveness of the Yangtze River Delta region continues to rank among the top in the country,” Xi said in remarks while chairing a symposium in Shanghai, according to Xinhua news agency.

Xi said it was important to highlight the advantages of the Yangtze River Delta’s complete industrial system and wanted to speed up the region’s modernisation as well as enhance its energy capabilities.

The president arrived in the sprawling financial hub of Shanghai, part of the Yangtze River Delta region, for the first time in three years on Tuesday and has toured key venues, watched sci-tech exhibitions and inspected an affordable housing compound.

The Yangtze River Delta area is an industrial hub encompassing several major cities with millions of people.

Xi admitted there were many deep-seated problems in the development of the area that need to be solved, according to state media, noting that the integration of key areas and regions still needs to be improved.

“There are still many shortcomings in the governance and development of megacities,” Xi said.

In laying out his vision for the region, Xi said innovations in science, technology and industry should be strengthened, while cross-regional coordination should be improved.

Xi also touched on the environment, calling for the establishment of a cross-regional emissions trading system and promotion of carbon peak and carbon neutrality.

“It is necessary to plan and build a new energy system and promote mutual assistance between provinces and cities,” Xi said, also stressing the need for cities to make better use of land and space planning, and improve project construction.

Xi said there should be more cross-regional industry transfers, co-construction and sharing and the rational allocation of production “so that the Yangtze River Delta can truly become a regional development community”.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)