Chinese President Hu Jintao gave his traditional New Year's Eve speech Monday, in which he noted the new position of Xi Jinping as head of the ruling Communist Party, and said that with him "the country will continue to forge ahead in the construction of a moderately well-off society."

"China will continue transforming its guidelines for economic development, pursuing progress and assuring stability," Hu said in his last speech as head of state before ceding the presidency to Xi in March 2013.

Hu said that 2012 was a decisive year for the world's second-largest economy, and especially recalled the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which ratified the choice of Xi as the country's next leader.

In 2013, Hu said, China will seek a "good beginning" and will proceed to attaining the goals established by the Communist leadership in that congress.

Hu will hand over the presidency of China after the annual plenary session of the National Popular Assembly, which will begin on March 5, 2013 and will continue for about two weeks.

Also at that meeting, the most important of the year for state politics, a new State Council will be elected and will include filling the post of prime minister, which Wen Jiabao will hand over, barring any surprises, to current Deputy Premier Li Keqiang. EFE