China has always carefully picked its next successor to lead what is now the second largest economy in the world and this time does not seem to be an exception to the rule. Mr. Xi Jinping was promoted to Vice-Chairman of the Communist Party military committee this past Monday.
His promotion is a clear sign that Mr. Xi is next in line to succeed President Hu Jintao should he decide to step down and if history is any indication such succession may very well happen at the end of 2011.
When Mr. Hu was promoted to the same job in 2002, he was named President of the People’s Republic of China one year later.
It may seem that such promotions are political in nature and yet the US is watching very carefully what that would mean for diplomatic and the strained economic relation with China.
The political background of Mr. Xi
Mr. Xi Jinping, the son of a former Chinese Premier, graduated from Tsinghua University where he received a degree in organic chemistry. He spent most of his career in the eastern Province of China during his rise to prominence in the ruling Communist Party.
He certainly leans towards traditional communism but is also known as a consensus builder rather then a party man.
He made a name for himself as a proponent of entrepreneurship and a promoter of market economics but had his setbacks in the late 90s due to party politics.
The economic thoughts of Mr. Xi
A very well educated man, Mr. Xi believes in the importance of global economics but also protects and defends the economic interests of China, which is very similar to President Hu Jintao’s views.
Expansion and economic development will continue under his leadership and political analysts do not expect a change of course if he were to take over the reign of both the Communist Party as well the country.
His challenge will be to continue to grow the Chinese economy, which will need slow but steady reform, while keeping true to the system in place.
He can be best compared to Den Xiaoping, the late Chinese leader, who brought China into the 20thcentury with a vision of controlled foreign capital inflows and the subsequent economic expansion.
The possible impact for the US, EU and Japan
Assuming Xi Jinping takes over the reign as President of the People’s Republic of China, not much will change from a diplomatic or economic perspective for the G4 countries.
The current balance between continued growth, exports and imports in China as well as its currency policy will most probably remain unchanged.
China is known for its long-term planning and vision so it is widely expected that Mr. Xi’s promotion within the ranks is a confirmation of China’s believe that he will continue the current path and plan that the late Den Xiaoping set in motion in the early 1980s.
The Western world should take note that within one month two Communist countries announce a possible change of guard well in advance of an actual succession.
North Korea announced earlier during one of the biggest military parades in the country’s 65 years of existence that the youngest son of current leader Kim Jong-Il, Kim Jong-Un, will succeed his father very soon.
As a newly appointed four-star general in the army, he was introduced to the people of North Korea as their next revered leader in the future.
China is following a similar path by hinting to the world who will become Mr. Hu Jintao’s successor at least one year in advance.
The West is often blinded by elections and waits for the results to then strike a diplomatic relationship with the new heads of state, but Communist countries believe in leadership through chosen succession which is announced well in advance.
That should allow the West to draft a diplomatic, economic and trade plan well in advance of the change of power.
Written by Nick Doms © 2010, all rights reserved.