With Xi at helm, China unveils new pro-reform leadership

Ending months of speculation, China unveiled its top leadership on October 25, with President Xi Jinping emerging as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, and five new members inducted into the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s apex decision-making body.With the world watching closely, the 64-year-old Xi Jinping presented members of the seven-member PSC to hordes of international and Chinese journalists at the imposing Great Hall of the People.
For Xi Jinping, it’s the crowning moment of his decades-old career as his philosophy christened “Xi Jinping Thought” was enshrined in the party constitution at the end of the week-long National Congress on October 24, elevating him to the pantheon of party legends Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.The new team chosen by Xi Jinping includes seasoned party veterans with extensive experience in governance and managing reforms, which signal the president’s commitment to fast-tracking structural transformation of the economy and curbing corruption in public life.

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Xi Jinping joins Mao pantheon: What it means for China & world

It’s the Xi Jinping Moment as China’s Communist Party elevated and exalted the 64-year-old princeling with the common touch to the pantheon of the party immortals, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, making him the most powerful Chinese leader in decades. On a cold winter morning in Beijing on October 24, the Xi Jinping Thought shone the path to realising the Chinese Dream as the week-long Party Congress concluded by enshrining the 64-year-old leader’s philosophy into the Chinese constitution, and setting him up for a prolonged stay in power, much beyond 2022 when his second term ends.
More than 2,000 delegates gathered in the majestic Great Hall of the People in Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square and unanimously voted to incorporate “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era” in the constitution on the final day of the week-long 19th Party Congress, a twice-a-decade meeting of the party’s ruling oligarchy.
Xi Jinping, who had inspired and enthralled the party elite and the nation with his three-and-a-half hour speech on the opening day of the congress, exuded quiet authority and poise as he spoke about “great strength and vitality,” of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the 21st century.
Xi Jinping Thought will now be on a par with Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory as a “guide to action” and revitalisation of the CPC and the Chinese nation. It will be now mandatory learning for Chinese students from primary schools through to universities.
This ceremonial elevation of Xi Jinping in the CPC pantheon will have significant ramifications for the world as it deals with the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, who has his own vision of making China a global power, which could bring him in conflict with other power centres.

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China’s Xi pushes for balanced growth, more open economy

Setting the target for a “moderately prosperous society” and a “fully developed nation”, China’s President Xi Xinping has renewed the focus on the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and focused on promoting balanced development at the 19th Party Congress of the CPC.
Mr. Xi has been a long- time proponent of a more open and inclusive Chinese economy, often facing flak from neo-Maoists who accuse him of moving away from Chairman Mao’s socialist agends. However, President Xi has been successful in consolidating his hold over the Party and has overseen a steady growth of the Chinese economy.
Laying out his strategy in 14 points that included diverse aspects like national security, elder care and reform, Mr. Xi was firm is declaring that “the party leads everything, everywhere”. A call for greater incentive to investment and serious market-oriented reform of its exchange rate as well as its financial system was made by the Chinese leader, while also emphasizing the authority of the state firms in the market. “Openness brings progress for ourselves, seclusion leaves one behind. China will not close its doors to the world, we will only become more and more open,” he said.
In the global scenario of increased protectionism and isolationist sentiments in the US, China is positioning itself as a major international player, aiding and assisting a host of infrastructural and development projects oversees and leading grand connectivity initiatives like the One Belt One Road. Proclaiming China as the future leader of the developing world, Mr. Xi attacked the pitfalls of the Western-style democracy claiming that “No country alone can handle all the challenges that mankind faces and no country can retreat into self-isolation.” “We have every confidence that we can give full play to the strengths and distinctive features of China’s socialist democracy, and make China’s contribution to the political advancement of mankind… We should not just mechanically copy the political systems of other countries,” he added.

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Xi Consolidates Power as New China Leadership Line-up Revealed

As a five-yearly leadership shake-up is underway in Beijing, President Xi Jinping is expected to fill the ruling Communist Party’s apex of decision-making, the Politburo Standing Committee, with trusted allies.Xi’s line-up for his first term at the helm of the world’s largest political party was a compromise influenced by his two immediate predecessors. But China’s ongoing 19th party congress is seen as the new beginning for Xi, who is expected to enter his second term with a team stacked with trusted allies and followers.

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Amid churn in Indo-Pacific, US plays India versus China game

Ahead of his maiden visit to India, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has projected the US as the reliable partner India needs, positioning New Delhi and Washington as two “two bookends of stability” in the Indo-Pacific region which is being challenged by China’s “irresponsible” rise.

Courting India ahead of his first official visit to New Delhi next week, Mr Tillerson projected an upbeat trajectory of the India-US relations that have been on an upswing ever since President Donald Trump assumed office earlier this year. In a defining foreign policy speech at an American think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mr. Tillerson said that the US is “determined to dramatically deepen ways” to build an “ambitious partnership” with India, particularly with an eye on the Indo-Pacific region and China, which will have “far-reaching implications for the next 100 years.”
Going by Mr Tillerson’s comments, it would appear that the US is pushing for a renewed China containment strategy, with India as a key balancer against China’s assertiveness. Should India offer to be part of this strategy? Opinion is divided among India’s strategic establishment. Meera Shankar, India’s former ambassador to the US, has struck a note of caution. “It’s a culmination of the trend of strengthening strategic partnerships in the region by the US to balance China,” Mrs Shankar told India Writes Network. “A stronger India will ipso facto act as a balancer, without getting into overt containment strategy,” she said. The US should help to bolster India’s rise and capabilities, she said.

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New era will see China closer to centre of world: Xi Jinping

Unveiling his vision of a Sino-centric world order at the twice-in-a-decade leadership shuffle, Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to build China into “a great modern socialist country” by the middle of this century and exhorted the Chinese people to fructify the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.

“This is an era that will see China move closer to the centre of the world and make more contributions to humankind,” he said at the inaugural session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on October 18.

The 19th National Congress of the CPC is poised to be the biggest political shake-up in China’s recent history, and looks set to elevate and consolidate Xi’s status as one of the most powerful leaders of China.

Holding the tenets of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era aloft, Mr Xi reiterated the need to “work tirelessly to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation” even as he cautioned against “mechanically copying the political systems of other countries.”

Addressing over 2000 delegates in the majestic Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Mr Xi said: “We will unite the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and lead them to a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and in the drive to secure the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”

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With an eye on China, India renews outreach to Seychelles

An archipelago of 115 islands off the coast of East Africa, Seychelles virtually disappears when the world map is zoomed out. However, its strategic significance for India’s diplomatic endeavors in the Indian Ocean maritime space is only set to increase, especially against the backdrop of China’s increasing forays in the pristine islands.
In this context, the recent visit of India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to Seychelles on October 10 was significant to allay some of the concerns raised by the Seychelles government over the agreement on India’s build-up of military infrastructure on Assumption Island.
There have been reports floating around that suggest that there are forces within the Seychelles government who are trying to hinder India’s infrastructural ambitions in these islands. In his last press conference in August, Seychelles’ President Danny Faure had said: “We would like to relook at the agreement which does not have a legal statute on the Seychelles side. But for India, it has a legal statute. We have to go back to the drawing board.” The reason for that could be attributed to the growing intimacy with China Read more..

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Namaste, Ni Hao! Sitharaman’s charm offensive signals improving India-China ties

Namaste, Ni Hao! It’s time for bonhomie and friendly gestures between India and China, who are trying to put the bitterness of the Doklam standoff behind. India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Nathu La in Sikkim and her informal interaction with the Chinese troops across the border has been hailed in China as a warming signal for better India-China relations.

A video clip showing Ms. Sitharaman teaching the meaning of ‘namaste’ to the People’s Liberation Army soldiers has gone viral with several Chinese media groups sharing it widely as a positive gesture from the Indian side. “Do you know what ‘Namaste’ means?,” Mrs Sitharaman is seen asking in the clip to which one Chinese soldier responds saying: “Namaste means nice to meet you” before greeting her with a “Ni hao” in Chinese. Soon after the exchange of greetings, Ms. Sitharaman tweeted saying, “Acknowledged a row of Chinese soldiers from across the fence who were taking pictures on my reaching Nathu La.” Nathu La border post is around 30 km from Doklam where the two countries were engaged in a prolonged 73-day standoff.

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