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Li calls for efforts to ensure growth

Premier Li Keqiang called on Monday for making concerted efforts to ensure good growth prospects this year, in addition to a focus on guarding against major risks and on targeted poverty alleviation and control of pollution.

Li was speaking at a plenary meeting of the State Council, which in principle approved a draft Government Work Report that will be sent out to solicit suggestions later.

"Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the country has made enormous economic achievements under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core," Li said.

China's GDP rose by 6.9 percent year-on-year in 2017, the first increase since 2011, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Key indicators such as employment exceeded expectations.

The plenary meetings, started in 2014, are convened in January to discuss the draft of the work report that the premier will deliver to the National People's Congress in March.

At Monday's meeting, Li said wide-ranging suggestions should be solicited and grassroots expectations should be widely considered to help improve government work.

He said innovation and economic competitiveness should be promoted through high-quality development, while market vitality and social creativity should be further unleashed to improve people's welfare, including education, healthcare, housing and environmental protection.

The achievements were not easy to realize-with employment and poverty alleviation being the areas with the best success, Li said. Therefore, he said, departments under the State Council and local governments should closely follow changes in economic development and strengthen policy research and preparations.

Li said the government should fully perform its duties to ensure a good start for this year. In the first quarter, delayed salaries for migrant workers should be resolved while market supply, food and drug safety, production and transportation safety should be ensured.

On Monday, Li also presided over a meeting of the leading Party members' group of the State Council to learn and implement the spirit of the Second Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, which concluded on Friday.

The State Council upholds the session's adoption of a proposal to write Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into the Constitution, a statement released after the meeting said.

Governments at all levels must use Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to guide their work and firmly uphold Xi's status as the core, the statement added.