Amid the China-US tussle over trade tariffs, Chinese President Xi Jinping has given a key diplomatic role to his close ally and Vice-President Wang Qishan, who carried out a massive anti-graft campaign in the last five years.
Wang, 69, has been made member of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission headed by Xi.
Wang, who is valued for his "firefighting skills", would play a leading role in foreign affairs after he left his previous post spearheading the party's anti-corruption drive, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported today.
Wang has already been meeting top foreign dignitaries visiting Beijing.
At the Central Foreign Affairs Commission meeting, Xi highlighted the current uncertainty in international affairs and stressed that the foreign affairs commission will play a leading role in China's diplomacy.
Xi has already elevated the role of diplomacy during his second five tenure starting in March this year. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been elevated to become State Councillor, a top diplomatic posting in China. The previous State Councillor, Yang Jiechi, has become member of the powerful politburo of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
The first meeting of the commission was held amid Liu's visit to the United States for a second round of trade negotiations.
"President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done," he said.
Today, he defended his decision with another tweet saying that "ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies. This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi."
The US Commerce Department last month blocked ZTE, a major supplier of telecom networks and smartphones, from importing American components for seven years. The US accused ZTE of misleading American regulators over sanctions against North Korea and Iran.
China had protested over the action against ZTE at trade talks in Beijing. By cutting off access to US suppliers of essential components such as microchips, the ban threatens ZTE's existence, the company has said.
China yesterday welcomed Trump's comments to reconsider the decision.
The two countries are trying to avert a trade war after Trump has begun pressuring China to reduce the USD 375 billion bilateral trade deficit. He has been calling on China to reduce the trade deficit by USD 100 billion with in a month and USD 200 billion by 2020 failing which he would impose tariffs on Chinese products.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)