China: The National People's Congress ended on the 17th with a press conference by Premier Li Keqiang. Before the closing, however, President Xi Jinping delivered his first address to the Congress. The central theme was The Chinese Dream.
Eight of the 17 paragraphs of the text were devoted to, or carried forward the application of, the dream. One of them reiterated the guidance Xi gave to the People's Liberation Army delegates on the 11th: obey the party, win wars and behave well.
Xi introduced the dream immediately after four paragraphs of thanks and preamble. The concluding, sentence of the second paragraph of the introduction is significant.
"Today, our people's republic is standing on the East of the world with a spirited posture."
Comment: The point is that Xi did not describe China's posture as rising, but as standing. The period of rising has ended.
After the fourth paragraph of introduction, Xi began the discussion and for the Chinese dream.
"To actualize the goal of the struggle to build a well-off society in an all-around manner; to build an affluent, strong, democratic, civil and harmonious modern socialist country, and to actualize the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, is to make the country affluent and strong, the nation prosperous, and the people happy. This deeply embodies the ideals of the Chinese people today, and deeply reflects our ancestors' glorious tradition of persistent struggle in pursuit of progress."
"Faced with the vast and mighty trends of the times, faced with the people's ardent expectation for a better life, we cannot be self-satisfied of slacken in the slightest; we must continue to persevere and move forward bravely, continue to push forward the endeavor of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and continue to work hard to actualized the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."
Xi's remarks about Taiwan stressed working together and pushing for the peaceful development of cross-strait relations. He called the Chinese on Taiwan "compatriots across the strait."
Concerning foreign policy, he stressed continuity in devotion to peace and friendly cooperation with every country in the world. He said China will carry out our due international obligations and duties.
In the second last paragraph, Xi addressed Party values and the issues of corruption, formalism, hedonism and extravagance. He urged the cadres to combat all negative and corrupt phenomena.
In the closing paragraph, Xi restated the importance of all rallying around the Communist Party to realize great aims, "and continuously make new and greater contributions to mankind."
Comment: With this address, the dream is the national theme. China's posture is erect. Realization of the dream will take a long time because China is still in the initial stages of socialism but achievement of Chinese national rejuvenation is a contribution to mankind, according to Xi.
India: On Friday, Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh warned Pakistan that there can be no military confidence-building measures (CBM) as long as Pakistan exports terrorism.
"The term CBM has got to be preceded by addressing trust deficit. You cannot talk of these things for endless years the way the things are going on. You cannot afford to keep open this tap of exporting terrorism to India. You have to check that and only then we can move forward," Singh said.
Comment: The setting for the General's remarks was the India Today Conclave 2013. Singh spoke in a session on the Army's role in nation-building. The context was the attack in Kashmir against the Central Reserve Police Force camp and Pakistan's condemnation of India for hanging a convicted terrorist.
Relative to army modernization, General Singh said that India's mountain strike corps is nearly formed. This is a special army corps for fighting along the Line of Actual Control opposite China. As a "strike corps," its mission is offensive.
Pakistan: For the record. On Saturday, 16 March, an elected government completed a full five-year term of office, for the first time in Pakistan's history. In a televised farewell address to the nation, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said, "Despite all odds, completion of the term is an extraordinary and historic achievement."
Comment: An interim prime minister will be appointed by the President and manage a caretaker government until elections in May. If the electoral process proceeds without violent disruption, 2013 would mark the year of Pakistan's first transfer of power between elected governments.
This is tonight's good news, tentatively. The signature achievement of the government is that it lasted five years, according to Pakistani analysts. The economy is a wreck; inflation is 7% and rising; energy shortages are chronic; the value of the Rupee is dropping and law and order conditions are almost out of control in Karachi the largest city.
End of NightWatch ###
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