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Vice Premier Liu He pauses after casting his ballot at the National People's Congress in Beijing on March 19.   © Reuters

Xi cements power with promotion of close allies to key posts

Bosom friend Liu entrusted to run China's economy

ISSAKU HARADA, OKI NAGAI and SHUNSUKE TABETA, Nikkei staff writers | China

BEIJING -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's trusted allies have taken charge of the economy and foreign affairs in the latest leadership shuffle, bringing together a wealth of expertise to clear hurdles the leader could face in his second and successive terms.

The National People's Congress on Monday elevated Liu He, a top economic adviser and old friend to Xi, to the post of vice premier, just months after the Communist Party's twice-a-decade National Congress handed him a seat in the powerful Politburo. Xi has told U.S. government officials that the economist, educated at Harvard University and the Renmin University of China, is extremely important to him.

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