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BEIJING, December 20, Xinhua -- China will seek solid progress in pollution prevention and control, and push for the development of an ecological civilization in 2018, said a statement issued after the Central Economic Work Conference which concluded Wednesday.

Pollution control will be one of China's "three tough battles" for the next three years, targetting of a significant reduction in the emission of major pollutants and an improvement in the overall ecological environment, said the statement.

To win the battle, efforts should be focused on adjusting the structure of industry, energy and transportation, as well as eliminating outdated capacity, strengthening energy conservation and related assessments, and making the skies blue again, it said.

Attendees of the meeting stressed the implementation of major ecological protection and restoration projects in China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), as well as work to increase national afforestation and protection of water and soil resources during the next year.

Enterprises, organizations and individuals will be encouraged to invest into environment protection to establish a number of companies that specialize in ecological protection and restoration, the statement said.

Work will also be done to speed up systematic reform to develop an ecological civilization, improve the ownership system of natural resource assets, establish a market-oriented and diversified mechanism for ecological compensation, and push forward reform in ecological and environmental supervision.

The three-day annual conference, held in Beijing from Monday to Wednesday, saw Chinese leaders review economic performance in 2017 and map out plans for the next year.

The other two "tough battles" outlined for the next three years are the prevention of major risks and targeted poverty alleviation.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has incorporated "Beautiful China" into its two-stage development plan for the building of a great modern socialist country, according to the report delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress in October.

The government has passed its toughest-ever environmental protection law, and introduced a "river chief" system to protect water resources. Ecological "red lines" will also be drawn in certain regions to strengthen environmental protection, according to earlier planning.

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