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Wang's selection as next MAC head draws mixed reactions

2012/09/19 22:44:35

Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) The naming of 43-year-old Wang Yu-chi, a national security adviser to President Ma Ying-jeou, as head of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has caught some cross-Taiwan Strait experts by surprise, with some of them forecasting that he will face big challenges.

Compared with Wang Yi, head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office who is a senior diplomat and an expert in Asian affairs, Wang Yu-chi appears inexperienced, said Yen Chen-shen, a research fellow at National Chengchi University's Institute of International Relations,

However, with President Ma's deep trust, Wang Yu-chi should be able to "precisely" implement Ma's cross-strait policy, Yen said.

The China side should have no problem with the Taiwan government's selection of Wang Yu-chi to replace Lai Shin-yuan as head of the main agency in charge of China affairs, Yen said.

Tung Chen-yuan, a former deputy head of the MAC who is now a professor at Chengchi University's Graduate Institute of Development Studies, said Wang Yu-chi's current post is that of an adviser on national security, not cross-strait affairs.

Tung said all three incumbent deputy head of the MAC -- Liu Te-hsun, Kao Chang and Chang Hsian-yao -- have more work experience than Wang in cross-strait affairs.

In addition, one of the key tasks of the MAC head is to coordinate between the industrial sector and civil groups on the government's mainland policy, he noted.

"These are some of the challenges Wang will face when he assumes office," Tung said.

Meanwhile, Susie Chiang, chairwoman of the Hong Kong-based CS Culture Foundation, said Ma's appointment of a new hand to take charge of cross-strait affairs was a surprise move.

She speculated that the move was meant to keep China guessing, and said it could lead to a breakthrough in cross-strait relations.

A politician with a strong academic background, Wang holds a bachelor's degree in law from National Taiwan University and a master's and Ph.D. in law from Indiana University.

He served as spokesman for the Kuomintang (KMT) presidential ticket of Ma and Vincent Siew in the 2008 campaign and was named Presidential Office spokesman after Ma took office in 2008.

According to KMT officials, Wang has a deep understanding of President Ma's China policy and has helped draft Ma's statements on cross-strait relations.

Wang's steady performance has earned Ma's trust and his experience as a national security adviser is likely to be helpful in the coordination efforts between the MAC and the National Security Council, the KMT officials said.

(By Tsai Su-jung and Elizabeth Hsu)
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