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Xi's removal of Hu points to 'common prosperity,' not Taiwan invasion

Chinese president's dissent-free cabinet hints at unpopular decisions ahead

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, looks on as his predecessor Hu Jintao is assisted to leave the hall during the closing ceremony of the Chinese Communist Party's National Congress on Oct. 22.   © AP

TOKYO -- One November evening in 1999, then-Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi was relaxing in his suite at the Jakarta Hilton, exchanging views with the traveling press. He had arrived in Indonesia that day and appeared to be in good spirits.

In two days, he would attend the first-ever trilateral breakfast with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, in Manila. Asia was the rising region, and Obuchi was eager to open a new chapter in Japan's relations with its neighbors.

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