September 16, 2014 / 12:13 PM / 5 years ago

China to speed up infrastructure construction: premier

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will accelerate the building of public infrastructure and allow regional governments to sell equity stakes in public works as it urbanizes, Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday.

Authorities will be allowed to enlarge their financing channels to pay for the construction of public housing and infrastructure, Li said at a meeting with regional government officials.

Construction of public infrastructure will also be accelerated, especially in poorer, western China in the years between 2016 and 2020, Li said. No further details were given.

With only 54 percent of its nearly 1.4 billion people living in cities, China wants to increase the proportion of its urban population to 60 percent by 2020 to lift living standards and power the world’s second-largest economy.

A 2014-2020 urbanization plan that was released in March showed the country is planning a major expansion of its transport network.

All cities with at least 500,000 residents will be covered by high-speed rail and a civil aviation network will be accessible to 90 percent of the population.

Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Robert Birsel

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