Xi calls for China's 'great renaissance'

CHINA - China's new president, Mr Xi Jinping, will fight for a "great renaissance of the Chinese nation", he said yesterday, as the world's most-populous country completed its once-in-a-decade power transition.

In his first speech as head of state, Mr Xi called for "the continued realisation of the great renaissance of the Chinese nation and the Chinese dream", laying out a vision of a stronger military and higher living standards.

The 25-minute address closed a Parliament meeting which named Mr Xi as head of state and Mr Li Keqiang as premier, four months after the pair took the top two posts in the ruling Communist Party - the real source of their power.

Mr Xi has close ties to Beijing's expanding military - which put its first aircraft carrier into service last year - and he called for the armed forces to strengthen their ability to "win battles".

China is embroiled in a bitter territorial row with Japan over islands in the East China Sea, and with neighbouring nations over claims to the South China Sea. Tensions with the United States have increased over reports of army-organised hacking.

Mr Li sought to play down such conflicts at a press conference, saying that Beijing would not "seek hegemony" as it became stronger and denying allegations that China engages in hacking.

"Conflicts between big powers are not inevitable," he said.

Mr Li, now in charge of the day-to-day running of the government, said that "maintaining sustainable economic growth", with an annual gross domestic product increase of around 7.5 per cent over the coming decade, would be his administration's top priority.

Both leaders reiterated the party's repeated pledges to fight corruption, with the Premier saying that the government had an "unshakable resolve" to do so.

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