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Foreign minister says new position an honor

2012/09/19 21:46:35

Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) Foreign Minister Timothy Yang, who has been tapped to serve as Presidential Office secretary-general, said Wednesday that although he had planned to retire after completing his current assignment, he will be honored to accept the new challenge.

Earlier in the day, Yang was named to fill the Presidential Office secretary-general post after the incumbent Tseng Yung-chuan, a vice chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and former deputy legislative speaker, was assigned to serve as the party's secretary-general.

Yang, 70, who has been working in the foreign ministry since 1969, said his main responsibility as Presidential Office secretary-general will be to assist President Ma Ying-jeou's administration in policy coordination and communications.

The nature of the new job is different from that of a diplomat, Yang said, adding that he will consult Tseng about the role.

Yang, who was appointed foreign minister in 2009, played an important part in helping the Ma administration achieve visa free and landing visa travel agreements with nearly 130 countries or regions, including EU and Canada. He also invited several senior U.S. officials to visit Taiwan and helped Taiwan ink working holiday agreements with several countries, including South Korea, Canada, Britain and Germany.

He has described the job of a Taiwan diplomat as multi-faceted one that involves seeking opportunities for the country to join global organizations, building Taiwan's international image and developing humanitarian aid programs.

Yang graduated from National Chengchi University Department of Diplomacy and pursued further studies at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A veteran diplomat, he has served as Taiwan's representative in Ireland, Australia and Indonesia.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Jamie Wang)
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