Chinese President Xi Jinping Calls For Renaissance

The new Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has said he will fight for “the great renaissance of the Chinese nation,” in his first speech as head of state.

He was speaking at the end of the annual National People’s Congress.

At a rare news conference later, new Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing would “win the trust of the people”, pledging to cut government spending.

The comments come as the Communist government has completed a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

Mr Li, who already holds the number two spot in the Communist Party, is now taking over the day-to-day running of the country, succeeding Wen Jiabao.

Mr Li was elected for a five-year term but, like his predecessor, would be expected to spend a decade in office.

‘Unshakeable resolve’

On Sunday, President Xi gave a patriotic speech calling for greater national unity, the BBC Martin Patience reports from Beijing.

He stressed that economic development would remain the ruling Communist’s party’s priority.

He also addressed the growing inequality gap and spoke about the need to tackle corruption.

President Xi also issued a warning to the country’s military, saying it should improve its ability to “win battles and… firmly protect national sovereignty and security”.

While saying the country faced many challenges, this was upbeat address from China’s new president, our correspondent says.

He adds that the speech represented a repackaging of ideas and policies that have been heard before. But its nationalistic tone will reinforce the view that he will pursue a more assertive foreign policy.

Later on Sunday, Premier Li held his news conference with Chinese and Western media.

He stressed that the government had “an unshakeable resolve and determination to fight corruption”.

“A clean government should start with oneself,” he said, promising to cut government spending, which would include a freeze on building new offices.

On foreign policy, Mr Li stressed on the importance of further developing relations with the US, despite remaining differences on a number of issues.

But Mr Li said that US-Chinese “common interests far outweigh our differences”.

And he described as “groundless” US accusations that China was behind recent cyberattacks on American government agencies and companies.

On Saturday, the Congress approved a number of new ministerial appointments, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Finance Minister Lou Jiwei.

The four vice-premiers are Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yandong, Wang Yang and Ma Kai – all veteran Communist Party officials.