Zeng tipped for military commission Vice-President Zeng Qinghong is expected to be appointed to a senior position in the Central Military Commission, cementing his position in the country's fourth-generation leadership. Mainland observers said Mr Zeng's elevation to the commission, which commands the People's Liberation Army, had been orchestrated by former president and commission chairman Jiang Zemin to ensure continuity and safeguard his legacy. Some observers believe Mr Zeng will be made a deputy chairman, the same position held by President Hu Jintao. Other say the 64-year-old official is more likely to become the commission's secretary-general, a lower-ranked position which would give him control of the daily management of military affairs. This position was phased out years ago. Mr Zeng's appointment is unlikely to threaten the authority of President Hu, observers believe, but it would fuel speculation about Mr Jiang's future. Overseas analysts had speculated that Mr Jiang would serve no more than two years of the new five-year term he started after the 16th Communist Party Congress last year before handing the position to Mr Hu. At the congress, Mr Jiang surprised many analysts by staying on as commission chairman after stepping down as state president and secretary-general of the Communist Party. Even if Mr Zeng joins the commission, mainland observers say Mr Jiang has no intention of stepping down during his current five year term and will continue to play a key role in the modernisation of the mainland's armed forces and in foreign affairs. Mr Zeng's appointment would require the approval of the party's central committee and the National People's Congress, so it is unlikely that an announcement will be made in the near future. Speculation about Mr Zeng's promotion to the powerful commission began in earnest after he received several foreign military delegations and made inspection tours of PLA barracks. In September, Mr Zeng met defence ministers from Australia, Canada and Uganda. Last week, he met Vietnam's deputy minister of defence and military chief of staff, Phung Quang Thanh. Observers say those meetings were significant since Mr Zeng's current portfolio does not include military affairs. The central government traditionally uses meetings with overseas visitors to provide broad hints about new policies and new portfolios for officials. Mr Zeng, a former deputy Shanghai party secretary, is one of Mr Jiang's most trusted aides and advisers. His appointment to the Central Military Commission would ensure his role as a key-decision maker in the fourth-generation leadership. As the leading member of the party's secretariat, Mr Zeng is currently responsible for managing party affairs. His portfolio also includes overseeing the party's Organisation Department, which is responsible for appointments of party cadres, and Hong Kong and Macau Affairs. Considered as open-minded and liberal, Mr Zeng is seen as a keen reformer. When he was the head of the Organisation Department from 1999 until this year, he was behind the party's efforts to boost transparency and accountability in party affairs. Under his guidance, the party and the government have started to put forward multiple candidates for local-level party and government positions.