China's Xi makes first public appearance in two weeks
By Yew Lun Tian
BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the northeastern province of Liaoning on Tuesday, state media reported, as he and other leaders emerge from a two-week absence from public activities, suggesting they had been at their annual summer conclave.
Xi visited a museum in the Liaoning city of Jinzhou that commemorates a key 1948 battle, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.
Before Wednesday, there were no state media reports on Xi's activities for two weeks - typically his activities are covered on a near-daily basis - an indication that he and other top leaders had held their traditional secretive summer gathering at the seaside resort of Beidaihe east of Beijing.
Visitors to Beidaihe and residents have said security had been especially tight there in recent weeks.
This year's Beidaihe conclave would be especially important, as leaders are expected to have deliberated on personnel moves ahead of the ruling Communist Party's once-in-five-years congress to be held later this year.
Xi is widely expected to secure a precedent-breaking third five-year leadership term at the upcoming party congress.
Premier Li Keqiang also re-emerged this week after a fortnight's absence from public activity. He visited the southern city of Shenzhen and held a videoconference on Tuesday on the economy with leaders from some of China's largest provinces.
While in Jinzhou, Xi also inspected local government flood prevention efforts and interacted with people relaxing at a park, Xinhua reported.
The museum Xi visited marks a battle that enabled Mao Zedong's Communists to seize control of northeastern China from the Nationalists, or Kuomintang, who fled to Taiwan after their defeat in 1949.
China continues to claim Taiwan as its own territory. Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims over it.
(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Tony Munroe and Raju Gopalakrishnan)