Xi Jinping declares China's intent to be a 'leading power' by 2050

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party. (Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

China will be a leading nation in terms of national power and global impact by 2050, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Communist Party officials in a major address in Beijing on Wednesday. Xi announced a two-stage plan to become a “great modern socialist country”, split between 2020 to 2035 and 2035 to 2050.

Xi’s comments came as part of his “work report” speech that officially opened the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party.

The five-yearly meeting sets out the vision and policies and establishes the party’s top leadership for the next term. More than 2,200 delegates have gathered in Beijing for the congress while the Communist Party’s economic and political announcements are being watched very closely.

During his speech, Xi also announced:

  • Relaxation of market access. China will relax market access for foreign investment
  • Support for more access to housing. “Housing is for living rather than speculation,” said Xi.
  • Renewed efforts to alleviate poverty in China by 2020. Xi said 60 million Chinese were lifted out of poverty over the last five years.
  • Increased focus on the environment and green energy. “We will promote a revolution in energy production and consumption,” said Xi. Focus will be on environmental regulation agencies, creating eco-friendly systems and decrease air pollution “to make our skies blue again”.
  • The modernisation of the Chinese armed forces. China should have “world-class” forced by 2050.
  • Continue the current “One Country, Two Systems” with Hong Kong and Macau. Xi said the regions’ “return to the Motherland” under the new system has been a “resounding success” and the current system will help deliver long-term prosperity. Also, Xi reinforced China’s position that it will not tolerate complete independence of Taiwan.

China, which Xi said is the world’s “largest developing country”, is currently the world’s second largest economy and has the second largest stock market. Over decades of providing foreign aid, China has also recently emerged as the world’s largest foreign aid donor.

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