Xi's Twin Bids for Power, Influence

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  • Taiwan could be this year’s litmus test of the fragile de-escalation of US-China tensions initiated in a November summit.
  • China will attempt to grow its influence or regain its advantage in spheres where the US appears to be giving way.
  • But domestic priorities may have to take priority as President Xi Jinping focuses on entrenching his rule and locking in a third term.

Just as US President Joe Biden this month celebrates his first year in the US office, Xi is gearing up for the 20th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress this autumn that will most likely grant him at least a third term in power. Projecting China’s growing power overseas will enhance Xi’s image as China’s strongest leader since Mao Zedong. So will lofty domestic objectives such as making China a modern socialist country by 2035. However, both sets of goals could veer off script or work against each other.

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