Chinese leaders in succession battle

Oct. 5, 2007 at 3:51 PM

BEIJING, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A succession fight among top leaders in the Chinese Communist Party could open up the country's politics if it isn't resolved, The New York Times reported.

A congress scheduled to begin Oct. 15 is to select new members for the Politburo Standing Committee and designate a successor for President Hu Jintao when he leaves office in five years.

Economic concerns and the question of Taiwan’s relationship to China are complicating the discussion, the Times reported Friday. Hu’s threats of military action if Taiwan persists in efforts to become a U.N. member could be partly an effort to rally the leadership to his side.

Party leaders haven't reached a consensus on a future president. The two leading candidates appear to be Li Keqiang, 52, party secretary of Liaoning Province in the northeast; and Xi Jinping, 54, who recently became head of the Communist Party in Shanghai.

Hu is said to favor Li, while his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, backs Xi, the Times said.

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