Chinese President Xi's trusted economic adviser Liu He may be promoted to Communist Party principal theorist

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on Oct 18, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping's trusted economic adviser Liu He is up for promotion to the role of the Communist Party's principal theorist, taking over from fellow academic and politician Wang Huning, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Monday (Oct 23).

Mr Wang is likely to be elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's highest decision-making body, SCMP said in an exclusive report.

The changes are to be made at the Communist Party's national congress, which is being held in Beijing and ends on Tuesday. All eyes are on the line-up for the seven-member Standing Committee, but the Politburo will also see a big shake-up at the gathering that is held every five years, with about half of its 25 members expected to be replaced.

Mr Liu, who is a member of the lower level Central Committee, presently holds a ministerial rank, but has a higher international profile than other more senior officials due to his close ties with Mr Xi.

A Harvard-trained economist, Mr Liu is the mastermind behind Mr Xi's macroeconomic policy and first came to outside attention when Mr Xi singled him out for an introduction to former US president Barack Obama's national security adviser Thomas Donilon on a trip to Beijing in 2013.

"He is very important to me," Mr Xi was famously quoted as saying.

After he is elevated to the Politburo, Mr Liu will take over as head of the Central Policy Research Office, which provides research and ideas for ideology and theories. It also prepares work reports and documents for the top leadership, besides research for major policy initiatives, reported SCMP.

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