Buhari, Xi Jinping to meet in Beijing

President Muhammadu Buhari has hinted that he would attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit in September. The indication was given in his congratulatory message to the re-elected Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“I look forward to meeting Your Excellency at the forthcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit in September 2018. I am confident that it will be a great success and good opportunity to draw up new levels of partnership between Africa and China,” President Buhari said.

In a letter personally signed by him, the Nigerian leader praised his Chinese counterpart for his wisdom and vision.

“On behalf of the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I congratulate you most sincerely on your re-election as the President of the Peoples Republic of China.

“Your re-election is an indication of the trust and confidence reposed in you by the people of China on your ability to bring your vision and wisdom to bear in the conduct of national and global affairs,” he said.

President Buhari also looked forward to increased cooperation between China and Nigeria on one hand and China and Africa on the other hand.

“It is my firm belief that your re-election will also bolster the existing mutually benefiting partnership between the Peoples Republic of China and Nigeria.

Xi Jinping was unanimously elected to his second term as China’s president and head of the military by the country’s rubber-stamp parliament on Saturday.

“All 2,970 delegates in Beijing voted to elect Xi, 64, as President and Chairman of the State Military Commission,” said a media report.

The vote was largely a formality after the legislature last Sunday lifted presidential term limits.

This effectively paved the way for Xi the country’s most powerful leader since the founder of communist China, Mao Zedong, to rule indefinitely.

Nevertheless, the unanimous vote was remarkable even for the rubber-stamp parliament, which usually sees a handful of abstentions and votes against. The legislature has never rejected a proposal put before it.

Wang Qishan, Xi’s trusted ally, made a comeback to Chinese politics by being elected vice president with 2,969 votes in favour and one vote against.

Wang, 69, led the country’s powerful anti-graft watchdog for five years until his retirement from the top echelons of the Communist Party late 2017.

During his mandate, the anti-corruption agency punished more than 1.4 million officials including, critics say, Xi’s political rivals.

The vice president position is largely ceremonial, but it would allow Wang to drive the country’s foreign policy, especially US-China relations.

“Wang will have as much authority as Xi grants him,” said political commentator Deng Yuwen.

The legislature also elected Li Zhanshu, a member of the powerful seven-man Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee, as head of the parliament.

Additionally, the delegates approved the biggest cabinet reshuffle in years, which will see the merger of the banking and insurance regulators and the creation of new ministries.

The changes are part of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to streamline the government, avert financial risks and strengthen the Communist Party’s control over the state.


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