President Xi Jinping said Friday that civil air defense should serve as an "indestructible shield" protecting the Chinese people, calling it a key part of the country's development in the next five years.
Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Central Military Commission chairman, made the remarks while meeting with representatives attending a national conference on civil air defense.
"Civil air defense is a long-term national strategy... It has contributed to safeguarding national security and facilitating economic and social development since the country's reform and opening-up," Xi said.
Xi urged those working in civil air defense to always remember their responsibility and make new contributions to the building of a stronger modern civil air defense system.
The civil air defense system should improve their capabilities, providing shield against air raids during wartime, serving the public in peace time and offering support in cases of emergencies, Xi said.
Xi congratulated 65 cities, 35 groups and 45 individuals cited for their outstanding contributions to the civil air defense cause.
During the conference, Premier Li Keqiang called for the implementation of the strategy of integrating defense with economic development, building civil air defense facilities as part of the plan to develop urban underground space, and strengthening the protection of important civil facilities.
Li also advocated market-oriented reform that will encourage other stakeholders than the government to play a role in the building, operation and management of civil air defense facilities.