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Changing of the guard in China

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi pauses during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012.
REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi pauses during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012.

This year’s National People’s Congress in China will be closely watched because it will oversee the realignment of the new Chinese government, following the anointment of Xi Jinping as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Not to be confused with the 18th CPC Party Congress, which in November determined top Party posts, the National People’s Congress will conclude with the appointment of several new senior leaders in the Chinese government (and in doing so, officiate the People’s Republic of China’s new leadership). Xi Jinping will become President of the PRC and Li Keqiang the new Premier. Among outsiders one of the most watched posts is that of State Councillor in charge of foreign affairs, whose outgoing appointee is China’s top diplomat Dai Bingguo. The most likely candidate is thought to be the present foreign minister, Yang Jiechi (photo).

The Lowy Institute has been following China’s foreign policy and leadership transition extensively. The latest addition to this analysis is Linda Jakobson’s recent publication China’s Foreign Policy Dilemma, which argues that China’s new leadership’s most urgent priorities are domestic challenges, and as a result foreign policy and external relations will occupy a lesser priority. Director of the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program, Linda Jakobson has published and spoken extensively on the topic of Chinese foreign policy under the country’s new leadership.