BEIJING is preparing a large-scale government reshuffle that will better enable the leadership to maintain political stability and implement an aggressive foreign policy. The changes, some of which will be endorsed by the forthcoming plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC), will also boost the powers of President Jiang Zemin. Diplomatic sources said yesterday that Vice-Premier Qian Qichen was poised to give up his concurrent position of Foreign Minister. And Foreign Trade Minister Wu Yi, who presided over intellectual property rights negotiations with the United States, was tipped to be promoted 'at least' to State Councillor. 'Last-minute horse-trading is still going on for personnel changes that will be announced at the end of the NPC in mid-March,' a senior Western diplomat said. He said what was certain was that Communist Party Politburo members Wu Bangguo and Jiang Chunyun would be made vice-premiers. Since the two politicians, who are also members of the Central Committee Secretariat, are close to President Jiang, their promotion would consolidate the latter's status as the core of the new leadership. The diplomat added there was a good possibility that Vice-Premier Zou Jiahua and State Councillor Chen Junsheng would retire at the NPC or later this year. Mr Zou, 68, is in charge of infrastructure projects and Mr Chen, 67, a former aide to ousted party chief Zhao Ziyang, looks after agriculture and flood prevention. Sources said while the leadership had decided last year Mr Qian should give up day-to-day handling of foreign policy, there was no consensus on his replacement as foreign minister. A source close to the Foreign Ministry said Premier Li Peng, who is the head of the Central Committee's Leading Group on Foreign Affairs, had given his backing to State Councillor Luo Gan. Other Politburo members, however, favour Vice-Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, a fast-rising star in the diplomatic establishment. The leadership is also believed to have received word from Foreign Ministry staff that they do not support Mr Luo because he is not a career diplomat. The source said President Jiang was leaning towards Mr Tang, a fluent English and Japanese speaker whose portfolio includes Asia and the former Eastern bloc. Some Beijing-based diplomats said they expected an overall 'toughening up' of Chinese diplomacy this year particularly with reference to relations with the US and the Taiwan issue. After giving up his job as foreign minister, Mr Qian will remain a vice-premier and politburo member with overall responsibility for diplomacy. He will, however, be devoting more time to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. If Mr Luo, whose portfolio is security and personnel, does not get the job of foreign minister, he will be given more responsibility in law and order. Police sources said that the leadership would shortly restructure the security apparatus, including the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security. The sources said one theme underlying the restructuring of the police apparatus would be to boost party control and supervision, particularly over the issues of efficiency and administrative probity. Political analysts said that Ms Wu, backed by both President Jiang and Premier Li, was likely to get a major promotion. The one senior politician who will lose most in the reshuffle is believed to be Executive Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji. While he retains overall control over the economy, the economic tzar has recently ceded major portfolios to Mr Jiang Chunyun and Mr Wu, who will be in charge of respectively agriculture and industry. It is understood that Mr Zhu will soon give up his concurrent position of Governor of the People's Bank of China. And if the right candidate can be found for the major position, the changeover of the leadership of the central bank could be announced at the NPC. Mr Zhu, who has taken flak for the leadership's questionable performance in controlling inflation and boosting grain production, has adopted a low profile. The Executive Vice-Premier has mainly been involved in the recent crackdown on illegal financial deals.