The Ministry of State Security has been strengthened to better promote intelligence work and Taiwan reunification efforts. But there are doubts over whether new state security chief Xu Yongyue, will be up to the task. Mr Xu, 46, deputy party secretary of Hebei province and a former private secretary to late leader Chen Yun, is the youngest minister in the new Cabinet. He was elected with 2,689 supporting votes. There were 169 votes against and 77 abstentions. Beijing sources said cross-strait relations had entered a critical stage and President Jiang Zemin wanted to strengthen the ministry's intelligence work to obtain the most up-to-date information. Sources said Mr Jiang was not satisfied with former state security minister Jia Chunwang's work in this area and was at first keen to have military intelligence chief General Xiong Guangkai to fill the post. 'President Jiang was particularly unhappy that Mr Jia failed to make correct judgment on Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui's visit to the United States in mid-1995,' a source said. Mr Jia had apparently failed to warn Beijing about developments in Tibet and in the exiled government of the Dalai Lama. However, sources said General Xiong had repeatedly refused the offer. Sichuan delegate Huang Xuejiu said he voted for Mr Xu because he had the experience of heading the Political Science and Law Commission in Hebei. Mr Jia has been appointed Public Security Minister. The Justice Minister's job went to Gao Changli, vice- president of the Supreme People's Court. State security, public security and courts will be placed under the supervision of the party's Central Commission of Political and Legal Affairs headed by Luo Gan, who is a protege of the NPC Chairman Li Peng. He Yong, deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, was made Minister for Supervision replacing Cao Qingze.