Mariah Partin, Staff Writer
Last month, China’s ruling Communist Party introduced five new officials to assist President Xi Jinping as he begins his second five-year term. However, it’s worth mentioning a successor has not been identified to lead the party after his second term. Given the ages of the five new leaders, none are expected to be his successor, as it is a rule that members of the ruling party must retire at the next party congress, if they are over the age of 68. According to ABC news, this further strengthens his position as China’s most powerful leader in decades.
In a message to the people, President Xi identified one of his main goals as eradicating poverty in China. These new leaders will have to face the challenges of decreasing debt, managing trade tensions with the U.S. and Europe, preventing war over North Korea’s nuclear program and navigating ties with Southeast Asian nations wary of Beijing’s influence. Joseph Fewsmith, a Chinese Political expert from Boston University, believes President Xi’s lack of introducing a successor points out the president’s long-term goals, including possibly serving a third term and naming his own successor when the time comes. This would involve breaking one of China’s informal rules of serving no more than a decade. Xi already an informal rule by not announcing a successor, which is supposed to usually done at the end of a president’s first five-year term.
These “informal” rules were introduced in 1989 to leave the era where rulers ruled for life. Experts think these symbolic moves help maximize Xi’s power, and in turn will drive his policy. President Xi, who is the son of a communist elder, has said he wants to make China “a great modern socialist country” by mid-century. President Xi is fostering party unity by trying to create a balance between different interest groups in the 89-million-member organization. This inclusion is projected to bring relief to those who thought President Xi would only pick his loyal followers and dispel concerns that he has been centralizing too much authority under himself, as stated by analysts at ABC.
President Trump’s trip to Asia coming just two weeks after the 19th National Congress conclusion in China has important implications for U.S.-Sino relations. Right now, according to Global Times China, trade and the crisis in North Korea are high on the agenda for President Xi and President Trump. Tensions with the U.S. and North Korea continue to risewhile also putting a strain on China. According to Bloomberg Politics, President Trump heads to China after stopping in Seoul and Tokyo. Accompanying him are executives from some 40 companies seeking deals in sectors including energy to aviation and financial services.
In an article by NPR, President Xi described a “Chinese renaissance” focused on protecting national interests and the environment. He said China will continue its economic reform policy. Xi made it clear that China’s influence has vastly increased from the 1980s until recently. China has avoided taking a leading role in international issues. President Xi is incredibly proud of how far China has come, and commented on how Chinese wisdom has been contributed to the human race.