Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North, South Korean Presidents congratulate Chinese counterpart on re-election

North, South Korean Presidents congratulate Chinese counterpart on re-election

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has offered his congratulations to China's Xi Jinping upon his re-election as president, North Korean state media said on Sunday, in a rare direct message from Pyongyang to Beijing after ties nosedived.

Other pictures on state media showed ordinary people standing in applause in front of television screens around the country at Xi's re-appointment.

Also on Saturday, a key Xi ally, Wang Qishan, was appointed to the previously ceremonial post of vice-president.

The reforms also include setting up a new immigration agency, as well as a merger of China's banking and insurance regulators under a China banking and insurance regulatory commission.

"This decision made by the National People's Congress once again proves your high prestige, and represents a recognition of Your contribution to promoting China's rapid economic and social development and safeguarding China's national interests on the global stage", Putin was quoted by TASS as saying.

Cabestan said Wang would likely be considerably more influential than his immediate predecessor, Li Yuanchao, given his close relationship with Xi and greater global profile.

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Only one delegate opposed Mr. Wang as Vice President - the face and mastermind of President Xi's anti-corruption campaign.

They pledged to "build a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful".

Xi has also turned to his top economic aide, Liu He, to deal with US trade frictions, dispatching him to Washington earlier this month, though it has not stopped President Donald Trump from considering new punitive measures against China.

There was never any doubt that the largely rubber-stamp parliament would not have re-elected Xi as president on Saturday, especially following a constitutional amendment a week earlier which lifts presidential term limits, meaning Xi can stay on indefinitely.

China has been trying to head off a trade war with the United States, sending envoys to Washington in recent weeks, including Xi's top economic adviser, Liu He.

Both were members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. Mr Wang, reportedly a friend of Mr Xi's from their youth, led the charge - becoming a feared enforcer for the Xi administration.

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