Xi Jinping takes helm of China amid reform calls

By The Associated Press | November 14, 2012 | 11:33 PM EST

Senior party members from left, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection head He Guoqiang, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, People's Political Consultative Conference Chairman Jia Qinglin, National People's Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo and Chinese President Hu Jintao stand singing of the Internationale, the international communist anthem, at at the closing ceremony of the 18th Communist Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Xi Jinping has become leader of China, securing the Communist Party's top spot as the country faces slower economic growth and rising public demands for change.

The state Xinhua News Agency on Thursday confirmed Xi's elevation to party general secretary. Xi also was appointed head of the commission that oversees the military.

The selection of Xi follows a pivotal party congress that underlined the communists' determination to remain firmly in power.

Xi is the son of a party elder and has served as vice president for the past five years.

He will lead the world's No. 2 economy and newest diplomatic and military power amid increasingly vocal calls for economic and political reform.