Xi Jinping elected for second term after a unanimous vote

Get out the popcorn
Get out the popcorn
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18 March, 2018

The 69-year-old troubleshooter has been a confidante of President Xi since "they were young" and helped set up China's first investment bank with Morgan Stanley in the 1990s.

But any effort by China to elevate formal exchanges with the United States on tricky trade issues, for example from a cabinet to vice presidential level, would require the White House's consent too.

Mr. Wang's formal return to front-line politics and his emergence as a leading figure in China-U.S. relations comes as Washington rolls out punitive measures to address a bilateral trade imbalance that a year ago stood at $375 billion in China's favor.

Wang has a long track record of handling tough situations, both domestically and internationally.

Yang, China's one of the four State Councillor, is Beijing's Special Representative on boundary talks with New Delhi. He later ran the economic track of the U.S. -China relations, said Sun Yun, director of the China Program at the Stimson Center, a Washington-based research group. "The world is very different now from 10 years ago", he said.

In an unprecedented move, President Xi took a public oath of allegiance to the Constitution in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People. "To repeal the term limits, Xi would have needed the consent of senior party members".

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At the party's five-yearly national congress last October, his guiding political thought bearing his name - the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era - was written into the party constitution.

Wang has otherwise kept a relatively low profile at parliament so far, with no state media reports of any visits to other provincial delegations to rally legislators, as members of the Standing Committee have done, including Xi.

And with Wang Qishan by his side, Xi won't feel alone, he adds.

"Given his track record in fighting corruption, he's a tough man".

Speaking at a fundraiser on March 3, US President Donald Trump caused quite a stir when he jokingly suggested the US should "give a shot someday" to having a "president for life", calling Xi "great" and causing his critics to chastise him for "dictatorial" leanings. "To meet Xi's expectation, I think he will take up a hawkish role in dealing with the USA when it comes to trade challenges". Wang's role is to protect the president from potential backlash within the party, observers say. It is not yet clear how the party's top leadership will deal with such an anomaly in a highly structured system.

A woman passes a newspaper stand showing a magazine with a picture of Chinese leader Xi Jinping on its cover, in downtown Shanghai on March 12, 2018. Mr. Xi is already the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) - the core of China's power structure.


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