China announces far reaching plan to boost technology

China announced a sweeping, 15-year plan on Thursday to invest in boosting its technological skills in areas ranging from genetics to aerospace in an effort to promote economic development and improve environmental protection.

The plan issued by the national Cabinet calls for China to raise spending on research and development to 2 percent of its economic output by 2010 and 2.5 percent by 2020.

It calls for development in 11 key areas, including the environment, farming, manufacturing and national defense, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

President Hu Jintao and other leaders have called in recent weeks for China to spend more on scientific research and increase the role played by technology and innovation in economic development.

Compared with developed countries, China 's spending on science "is still insufficient, the investment structure is not reasonable and the basic conditions for science and technology are still weak," Xinhua said, reports the AP.

D.M.