China's Communist Party has elevated President Xi Jinping to the position of "core" of the leadership, underscoring the overwhelming clout he has amassed on the back of a sweeping anti-corruption campaign and crackdown on dissent.

The official Xinhua News Agency said late Thursday that a key party meeting this week called on all members to unite around the party leadership with "Comrade Xi Jinping as the core."

While mainly symbolic, the move of bestowing Xi with "core" status reflects his assertion of himself as one of the country's most powerful leaders in decades.

It was an accolade bestowed on past leaders including famed reformist Deng Xiaoping and ex-President Jiang Zemin but which Xi's immediate predecessor never attained.