Vietnam's Communist Party ended its five-yearly congress Thursday after re-electing its 71-year-old chief for a second term, an expected outcome that sees the conservative pro-China ideologue cementing his hold on power.

"Let me be very frank. I didn't expect to be introduced and elected," General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (pronounced Noo-yen Foo Chong) told reporters. "I was re-elected as general secretary with almost 100 percent of votes. And I am very surprised by that. Because I am quite old. I am the oldest member in the leadership of Vietnam. I myself asked to be retired but due to responsibility tasked on me by the party I had to accept."

Trong said there is "a lot of work ahead of us."

"The responsibility is enormous. And in the current domestic and international context, there are a lot of opportunities and challenges," he said.