China's new president calls for 'great renaissance'
BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
China's new President Xi Jinping, left, and newly installed Premier Li Kiqiang arrive to the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing China, Sunday, March 17, 2013. AP Photo/Kin CheungChina's new President Xi Jinping will fight for a "great renaissance of the Chinese nation", he said Sunday as the world's most populous country completed its once-in-a-decade power transition.
In his first speech as head of state, 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 ever-higher living standards.
The 25-minute address closed a parliament meeting which named Xi as head of state and 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.
Both Xi and Li stuck to the party's long-held consensus on the need for economic reforms to ensure growth, while increasing military power and avoiding political change that could threaten its grip on power.
Analysts said Xi's concept of a "great renaissance" was a slogan designed to have broad appeal, without any firm commitments to specific reforms.
Xi has close ties to China'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".
Beijing 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 US have increased over reports of army-organised hacking.
Newly appointed Premier Li Keqiang sought to play down such conflicts in a press conference, saying that Beijing would not "seek hegemony" as it became stronger and denying allegations that China engages in hacking.
Despite their differences, conflict between the world’s biggest and second-largest economies is not inevitable as long as they respect each other’s major concerns and manage their differences, Li said.
China’s new leaders “attach great importance” to relations that meet the “fundamental interests of people in both countries and serves the global trend of peace and development,” Li told reporters.
Asked about recent allegations that China’s military was behind massive hacking attacks on U.S. companies and government entities, Li reiterated Beijing’s statements that China is a major target of global hackers and opposes all such criminal activity.
“I think we should not make groundless accusations against each other but spend more time doing practical things that will contribute to cyber security,” he said.
Li said that “maintaining sustainable economic growth”, with an annual GDP increase of around 7.5 percent over the coming decade, would be his administration’s top priority.