China

Chinese premier wants to accelerate post-quake reconstruction

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BEIJING, Nov 17, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Accelerating reconstruction work is the top priority in quake-affected areas, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit over the weekend to Sichuan Province.

He told villagers in Anxian County on Sunday that the government would strengthen support to farmers to help them rebuild their houses within two years, instead of three years as was the original schedule.

The construction of public facilities, including schools, kindergartens and hospitals should also be quickened, Wen added.

"We can achieve that," he said.

When visited students and teachers of the Beichuan Middle School on Saturday. The school has been operating in a temporary shelter. He told students who were injured in the quake, never to give up.

"I hope you will be optimistic against all the difficulties," When said.

He also listened to a report on the plan to rebuild Beichuan County as it was destroyed by the quake.

"The reconstruction work for the new county should be based on advice from experts and the public," When said.

He also visited the Sichuan Jiuzhou Electric Group, which has resumed production after the quake, and the Pangang Group Sichuan Chengcheng Special Steel Cooperation.

When said reconstruction work should not only rely on government investment.

"Private companies should be motivated to invest in post-quake reconstruction projects," he said.

It's Wen's sixth visit to the area after the 8.0-magnitude quake stuck on May 12 killing nearly 70,000 people. More than 17,000 are still missing.