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Editorial: Xi Jinping should use his hold on power to stabilize East Asia

At the Communist Party of China's 19th National Congress, Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping named the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee. The congress cemented Xi's monopoly on power, and marked China's entry into the" Xi Jinping era," with aspirations of becoming a strong country with a modern take on socialism.

At the National Congress, "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" was incorporated into the Communist Party Constitution, making Xi the third leader to be explicitly named in the party's Constitution after Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Members of the Politburo Standing Committee, headed by Xi and dubbed "the China Seven," comprise mostly those close to the president, such as Li Zhanshu, the director of the General Office of the Communist Party of China. An heir to Xi was not named; there is talk of a long-term Xi reign.

Meanwhile, Wang Qishan, an old ally of Xi's who was instrumental in the government's clampdown on corruption, left the leadership in accordance with tradition that those 68 years old and up retire, evidence that Xi cannot wield power in complete disregard of organizational principles.

It is noteworthy that Wang Huning, a theorist with no administrative experience who heads the Central Policy Research Office, was appointed to the Politburo Standing Committee. He served under three former presidents, including Jiang Zemin, and has been the brains behind the state's fundamental strategies. He is likely the one who came up with the "Xi Jinping Thought."

During his report to the National Congress, Xi stated that he would "gather and appoint those gifted under the sun." Wang's appointment can be said to be part of a strategy to make China an advanced nation through governance by the elite.

The key is what Xi will do with the power now concentrated in his hands. Beefing up state control will not promote economic vitality. Rather, the real test will be whether state-owned corporations bent on protecting their vested interests will be able to carry out reforms. What will be put to the test in the field of foreign policy is not just the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but the integrated approach of special interest groups such as the military and government agencies overseeing energy policy that are zealous in their maritime forays.

Wang is an expert in international politics and has accompanied Xi on his visits to other countries. That Yang Jiechi of the State Council is the first former diplomat in 15 years to become a member of the Politburo indicates Xi's emphasis on foreign diplomacy, and is worthy of praise.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his wish to have Xi come to Japan after holding a Japan-China-South Korea summit here this year, and making a visit himself to China next year. As tensions mount in East Asia with North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, shuttle diplomacy by Japan and China will contribute to the stability of the region.

In November, United States President Donald Trump will travel to Asia, including stops in Japan and China. The relationship between the U.S. and China is extremely important to global stability. It is our hope that Xi curbs nationalism in China, and makes efforts toward international cooperation.

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