Chinese President Xi Jinping was unanimously re-elected to a norm-breaking third term at a plenary session of the country's parliament Friday, with a new government leadership set to face challenges such as dealing with a deepening rivalry with the United States.

Last October, the 69-year-old started a historic third five-year term as general secretary of the ruling Communist Party. The party has supreme political power in China and senior government positions are held by party leaders.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

In 2018, China removed the two-term limit for the president from its Constitution, essentially enabling Xi to retain power for life.

Xi took the oath of office by pledging to build a "powerful modern socialist country."

The National People's Congress also elected Vice Premier Han Zheng, 68, who retired from the Communist Party's apex of power last October, as vice president and Zhao Leji, 66, who was promoted to the party's No. 3 post in October, as chairman of the NPC Standing Committee which puts him at the head of the top legislative body.

They respectively replaced Wang Qishan and Li Zhanshu.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd from R, front row) is congratulated by Li Zhanshu (R, front row) as other delegates applaud after he is unanimously re-elected to a third term at a plenary session of the country's parliament in Beijing on March 10, 2023. (AP/Kyodo)

Han is expected to help Xi steer diplomacy in place of Wang, who made numerous foreign visits during his five-year term including attending the state funeral of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the inauguration ceremony of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Zhao formerly headed the commission for discipline inspection, the Communist Party's anti-corruption body.

Xi's close aide Li Qiang, a former Shanghai party boss who is ranked No. 2 in the Communist Party's highest decision-making body -- the seven-strong Politburo Standing Committee -- is certain to be elected premier on Saturday. He will replace Premier Li Keqiang, who will retire after serving two five-year terms.

The parliamentary session attended by some 3,000 delegates at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing also approved a plan to reorganize government institutions.

The plan covers the establishment of a new national data bureau and national financial regulatory administration as well as strengthening functions of the science and technology ministry.

The data bureau will push forward the building of the digital economy, while the financial body will regulate aspects of the financial industry apart from the securities sector.

The restructured science and technology ministry will be in charge of promoting technological breakthroughs, optimizing innovation and facilitating the application of advances.

Related coverage:

China warns Japan not to join U.S. efforts to contain it

China sets modest 2023 GDP goal of some 5% after COVID

Xi Jinping secures unprecedented 3rd term as China party chief