Duowei News published an article on March 20 stating that Xi has changed his focus on China’s foreign affairs effort, thereby elevating it to an important position and that there will be a major reshaping of China’s foreign affairs work to enable it to play a more important role in the party’s governing body. The change includes an increase in the budget, a change in personnel, the reform of the foreign affairs agency and the setting up of a state-level International Development Cooperation Agency. The article reported that in 2018, the budget for Foreign Affairs was 60 billion yuan or US$9.5 billion, an increase of 15.6 percent from 2017 and 40 percent from 2013 when Xi first took power. The personnel change includes the appointment of Wang Yi to state councilor to handle pressing foreign affairs issues including the US – China relationship, North Korea, Taiwan and the South China Sea. Wang Qishan was appointed to be the Vice President with his main focus being on foreign affairs; Xi’s economic adviser Liu He was appointed to be the Vice premier. He is expected to handle the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China. The newly established state-level International Development Cooperation Agency is expected to manage the ever increasing foreign aid budget.
Source: Duowei, March 20, 2018