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Vice-Premier Wang Qishan greeted his long-time acquaintance Henry Paulson with his trademark humour yesterday.
In his first meeting with the US Treasury secretary in his new capacity as a vice-premier, Mr Wang said he was a little worried by what he had seen on television the night before. 'I saw you in the news footage and I was a bit concerned because you looked a bit worn out on the TV,' he said, referring to a CCTV news clip featuring Mr Paulson's remarks on US financial regulatory reform. 'But you look glowing today, so I feel really happy and relieved.'
The pair have known each other since Mr Paulson was a senior banker with Goldman Sachs and Mr Wang worked for China Construction Bank.
Mr Paulson congratulated Mr Wang on his new appointment, saying: 'It's great for me to address you as vice-premier now. I am looking forward to working closely with you as we prepare for the next Strategic Economic Dialogue session.'
Mr Wang was appointed a vice-premier to oversee the nation's financial policies last month and is being seen as a replacement for Wu Yi as a troubleshooter on international trade affairs. Ms Wu stepped down as a vice-premier last month. Mr Wang will replace her in leading the Strategic Economic Dialogue between Beijing and Washington.