Li Keqiang

Few surprises in delegation of duties for new vice-premiers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2008, 12:00am


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The central government has announced the division of labour for its newly appointed vice-premiers and state councillors, local media reported.

The announcement contains few surprises. Of the four new vice-premiers approved by the National People's Congress last month, Li Keqiang , widely believed to be Premier Wen Jiabao's successor, will oversee overall economic and development planning, the Southern Metropolis News reported.

Mr Li, 52, who joined the nine-man Politburo Standing Committee in October, will also assume Mr Wen's duties when the premier is overseas.

Vice-Premier Wang Qishan is to take an expanded role in overseeing trade, tourism, product safety, customs and finance. He will be charged with pushing through the much-needed reforms for the financial sector, the newspaper reported.

North Korea-educated Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang will be in charge of industry, telecommunication, energy and transport. His colleague Hui Liangyu retained his post as vice-premier in charge of agriculture.

Of the five new state councillors, Liu Yandong , the only woman among the top leadership, is to assist Vice-President Xi Jinping in handling Hong Kong and Macau affairs.

The newspaper said Ms Liu was also appointed as the first-rank vice-chairwoman of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

Marking a departure from tradition, Taiwanese affairs - which were normally handled by the same person who overseas Hong Kong and Macau affairs - were handed to State Councillor Dai Bingguo , the former vice-minister of foreign affairs. Mr Dai will be in charge of foreign policy and diplomatic affairs, the newspaper reported.

Ma Kai , the former head of the powerful National Development and Reform Commission, is to oversee the day-to-day affairs of the general office of the State Council.

State Councillor Meng Jianzhu , who also heads the Public Security Ministry, will be responsible for internal security and law. Another state councillor is Liang Guanglie , the defence minister.