Asia Minute: China’s Cabinet Changes

Mar 20, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in London | 2015
Credit Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Flickr

President Trump’s evolving cabinet continues to be a focus of attention in Washington. But Trump is not the only president making adjustments to a government’s leadership team. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is starting his second five-year term with a new cabinet line-up; dutifully approved this week by the National People’s Congress.

The vice-president is a familiar face with a new position.

Wang Qishan is an experienced confidante of President Xi who previously headed the government’s anti-corruption campaign and will now be a key player in China’s relationship with the United States.

Premier Li Keqiang retains his post, while there are four vice-premiers.

One is Liu He, another long-time ally of President Xi, who will oversee the economy and the financial sector, and will also help manage relations with the United States.

For the first time in more than 15 years, China’s central bank has a new leader. The Peoples Bank of China will be headed by Yi Gang—who was the long-time deputy head of the bank.

Both of these economic leaders got graduate degrees in the United States. Liu received a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard, while Yi got a PhD in Economics from the University of Illinois.

China's new Defense Minister, Wang Yi.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Foreign Minister Wang Yi gets an additional title as State Councilor, and the former head of the strategic missile force is the new defense minister.

There are other changes, including two new ministries managing the environment and natural resources. Both headed by ministers in their early 50’s, and notably young by the standards of usual government service in China.