The Straits Times spot on with its award

It is fitting that President Xi Jinping was named Straits Times' Asian of the Year (The Global Statesman; Dec 6).

Founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew Lee Kuan Yew once described him to be in the "Nelson Mandela class of persons".

Of significant note is the fact that Mr Xi has departed from former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's tao guang yang hui, or "keeping your light under your bushel" policy.

Mr Xi said in October "it was time for China to take centre stage in the world".

This spells a more confident China, able to lead the world.

All the better, too, if the advocate of "the Chinese dream" is able to lead China for a third term and, with that, spin off peace, prosperity and stability in Asia and the world.

This is not an unlikely scenario, given Mr Xi is part of the fifth generation of leaders, and leads a government with high standards of competence at every level.

One key element today is that Chinese officials are very much exposed to the world, with many even Western educated, and are no longer communists in the true sense of the word.

They are pragmatists determined to forge a rich, developed and technologically advanced China. They will succeed.

Wong Horng Ginn