Xi Jinping again named Straits Times’ Asian of the Year

This article is more than 12 months old

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been named The Straits Times' Asian of the Year, the first time a person has won the award twice.

Mr Xi, 64, was chosen for "having been a crucial source of stability at a time of great uncertainty for the region and the world".

The award is conferred every December to an Asian or Asians who have made a significant impact on their societies or the wider region over the past 12 months.

This year, the newspaper is also paying a special tribute to veteran Singapore diplomat Tommy Koh, a stout defender of a rules-based international order.

The editors noted that in a year of disruption, marked by a power transfer in the United States, Mr Xi has been a picture of calm while offering a vision that went beyond his country of 1.38 billion people to encompass Asia and the world.

Mr Xi, the editors added, demonstrated leadership throughout the year - from his stout defence of free trade and endorsement of efforts to combat climate change to his articulation of a vision for a connected world in hosting the Belt and Road Summit.

He also consolidated and enhanced his power at the Chinese Communist Party's 19th National Congress and saw China broker an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar on how to deal with the 600,000 fleeing Rohingya.

In selecting Mr Xi, the editors hoped "he will be able to draw on the wisdom of China's rich civilisation and long history to present the world with a China that while pursuing self-interest, does so with patience, empathy, generosity and, above all, respect for the rule of law and fair play in international relations".

Mr Warren Fernandez, editor of The Straits Times, said: "At a time of great disruption in the world, (Mr Xi) has projected good sense and calm."

Mr Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of the English/Malay/Tamil Media Group of Singapore Press Holdings, chaired the panel that deliberated on the award.

Mr Xi first won the award in 2013, together with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.