Hu takes on foreign affairs
By Willy Wo-Lap Lam, CNN Senior China Analyst
HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao has recently assumed the helm of the Communist party's Leading Group on Foreign Affairs (LGFA), the country's top decision-making organ on diplomacy and national security affairs.
Hu has replaced ex-president Jiang Zemin, 73, who was China's foremost foreign-policymaker for more than a decade.
Diplomatic sources in Beijing said given that Hu may remain Head of LGFA for ten years, his way of thinking and new initiatives would have a big impact on China's relations with the world for a long time to come.
Being a high-level party organ, the activities of the LFGA are never reported in the media.
Its decisions are implemented on a day-to-day basis by government and party departments such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Liaison Department.
The sources said Hu and the party's Politburo Standing Committee had yet to finalize the full membership of the new LGFA.
They said, however that its Vice-Head was Premier Wen Jiabao and members also included Vice-Premier Wu Yi, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.
The biggest surprise of the new line-up is that the name of Vice-President and senior Politburo member Zeng Qinghong is missing.
A long-time confidant of ex-president Jiang's, Zeng had until early this year played a big role in advising Jiang on foreign affairs, especially those pertaining to the U.S., Japan, the Koreas and Taiwan.
For example, in an effort to boost China-Japan ties, Zeng in early spring invited the secretaries-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei Party, and the New Conservative Party to visit Beijing.
When the three top politicians came to in the Chinese capital in May, however, they were met by several senior officials but not Zeng.
According to party sources in Beijing, Zeng is now concentrating on party affairs, particularly personnel and ideological issues.
The sources said the 60-year-old Hu is putting together his personal think tank on diplomacy and national security.
It is believed that his policies major areas such as Sino-U.S. relations as well as Taiwan will be tougher than those of former president Jiang, who is often attacked by hardliners in the army for being "pro-U.S."