U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping had consolidated power more quickly than any Chinese leader in decades, raising human rights concerns and worrying China's neighbors.
Obama, who met Xi last month in Beijing, told the Business Roundtable group of top U.S. chief executives that the Chinese leader had won respect in the short time since he had taken over.
"He has consolidated power faster and more comprehensively than probably anybody since Deng Xiaoping," Obama said, referring to the man who led China from 1978 to 1992.
"And everybody's been impressed by his ... clout inside of China after only a year and a half or two years."
But Obama said there were negative sides to Xi's rise.
"There are dangers in that. On issues of human rights, on issues of clamping down on dissent. He taps into a nationalism that worries his neighbors," Obama said, noting maritime disputes in the region.