East Asia in 2017: On land and sea, a year of building power bases


DECEMBER 30, 2016 BEIJING—In East Asia, anxiety about what 2017 holds in store is running as high as anywhere in the world. Here’s a look at some of the stories to keep an eye on as the year unfolds:

Q. What will happen at the 19th National Party Congress in China?

Every five years, the ruling Communist Party holds the most important meeting in its official calendar, to stamp its approval on top leaders and their policies. Next autumn, it will be time for another one. While such gatherings are notoriously opaque, it appears certain that the congress will confirm President Xi Jinping as national leader for five more years.

Mr. Xi is expected to staff the party’s top bodies, including the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, with trusted lieutenants. Under informal retirement rules that set an age ceiling of 65, five of the seven committee members are due to step down. Only Xi and Premier Li Keqiang will be left.