From the foreign press

Updated: 2013-03-19 07:43

(China Daily)

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Russian-Chinese ties enhanced

Ties between Russia and China will be enhanced, says a commentary in the Voice of Russia. Excerpts:

Xi Jinping was elected president of the People's Republic of China and chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission during a session of the 12th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 14. The transition of China's top leadership, which began in November, has thus come to an end at this NPC session.

Xi delivered a short speech during the presentation of the new Standing Committee of the Politburo in November. In his speech, Xi Jinping made no mention of ideology. Instead, he dwelled at length on unemployment, the economic slowdown, the pension system, corruption and other issues of public concern. He promised that in the coming 10 years his government would tackle all these issues. Russian President Vladimir Putin was among the first to congratulate Xi Jinping. In his greetings, he said that relations between Russia and China play a major role in cementing global peace and security. Xi thanked Putin saying that he would try to do his best to secure the further development of Chinese-Russian relations.

China important for Germany

German chancellor thanked China for its support during the eurozone debt crisis and hoped friendly relations would continue, says an article in Deutsche Welle. Excerpts:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was one of the first foreign leaders to congratulate Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on March 15, China Central Television said. The report said Merkel had stressed that China's development was "extremely important for Germany and the world."

The two discussed the eurozone debt problem, the broadcaster said, with Merkel thanking Li for China's support during the crisis.

In a formal telegram of congratulation circulated in Berlin, the chancellor expressed "the hope that traditional good and friendly relations between our two countries continue during your term of office".

High expectations

Chinese people have pinned their hopes on the new leadership, says an article by the Associated Press. Excerpts:

Chinese President Xi Jinping takes charge at a time when the public is looking for leadership that can address sputtering economic growth and mounting anger over widespread graft, high-handed officialdom and increasing unfairness. A growth-at-all-costs model has befouled the country's air, waterways and soil, adding another serious threat to social stability.

"I'm very happy. With President Xi leading us, China will be more prosperous and more powerful," said Zhang Rihong, chairwoman of a real estate company from northeastern Heilongjiang province who joined nearly 3,000 fellow delegates to the National People's Congress in Beijing's cavernous, red-carpeted Great Hall of the People. "This is welcomed by all," she said.

Challenges ahead

China's new leadership faces many pressing challenges, says an article by Reuters. Excerpts:

Since taking up the position of Party chief last November, Xi Jinping has focused attention on fighting corruption and promoting austere practices.

Many Chinese hope Xi will bring change in a country that has risen to become the world's second biggest economy but is marred by deepening income inequality, corruption and environmental destruction.

At the same time, his administration must deal with a slowdown in economic growth, juggle the urgent task of calming a frothy housing market, defuse local government debt risks and wean China off its addiction to investment-led expansion.

Xi will also have to deal with an increasingly provocative situation on the Korean Peninsula and ties with the United States, Japan and Southeast Asia.

(China Daily 03/19/2013 page10)