China's new leadership promises great renaissance

The new Chinese leadership took over power today, promising to strive for "great renaissance" to achieve the "Chinese dream" by making the country militarily and economically strong without seeking "hegemony".

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The new Chinese leadership took over power today, promising to strive for "great renaissance" to achieve the "Chinese dream" by making the country militarily and economically strong without seeking "hegemony".

Xi Jinping, 59, who took over as President and Military Chief after succeeding Hu Jintao as the new leader of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) in his address to the legislature called for "the continued realisation of the great renaissance of the Chinese nation and the Chinese dream".

His comments came as the Communist government smoothly completed a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

Explaining the essence of the Chinese dream, which some interpreted as recreation of vast Chinese empires of the past, Xi said "Chinese dream is a dream of the whole nation as well as of every individual." He was speaking at the concluding session of the National Peoples Congress (NPC) here.

To realise the "Chinese dream," China must take the Chinese way "must follow the strategic thinking that development is of overriding importance", he said.

President Xi said China's military should improve its ability to "win battles and... protect national sovereignty and security".

He also stressed that continued economic development was essential, urging the nation to achieve what he called "China's dream".

He said 1.3 billion Chinese people should bear in mind the mission, unite as one, and gather into invincible force with the wisdom and power.

Holding all the three posts, Xi, who kicked off a 10 year tenure has emerged as the most powerful leader in the recent decades as the country's military major strides with hefty defence budgets, which this year reached USD 115.7 billion.

The country has acquired an aircraft carrier, new range stealth fighters as well as missiles in midst of tensions between Japan over the disputed islands as well as with East Asian countries over South China Sea.

Addressing his first press conference, Premier Li Keqiang, 57, however played down concerns over China's rise saying that China has no ambition to seek hegemony even though the country has "unshakable commitment" to safeguard its sovereignty.

"Even if China becomes stronger we will not seek hegemony because we have learnt from our own bitter experience in the modern period that one should not impose on others he himself does not desire. It is an article of faith for us," Li said.

"Let me underscore here China has an unwavering commitment to peaceful development. We also have unshakable commitment to safeguard our country's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said, without directly referring to China's deepening disputes with Japan over islands and differences with various South East Asian countries on the South China Sea.

China and India also have a territorial dispute and the two sides have held 15 rounds of talks to resolve it.

Li argued that China's wish to assert its sovereignty and peaceful rise are not contradictory.

"These two are not contradictory to each other in fact they are essential for regional stability and world peace. China will shoulder our due international obligations as a large developing country."

"We are willing to work with the countries of the world to maintain global peace and prosperity in the 21st century," he said.

He also allayed concerns about the slow growth of China’s economy as well as apprehensions about China's rise as global power.

Stating that both the concerns are unnecessary, he said China is capable of achieving sustainable and healthy economic development and pursuing social progress.

"There are 1.3 billion people in this country, so we are on a long journey to modernisation. For that we would require an international environment of lasting peace," Li, who succeeded Wen Jiabao said.

China has slowed down considerably in the last three years contracting from over 11 per cent GDP to 7.8 last year. The government has fixed 7.5 per cent as target this year.

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