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Government reshuffle aimed at coping with East Asia situation

2012/09/20 21:10:40

Taipei, Sept. 20 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou's decision to reshuffle his administration is aimed at dealing with the increasingly volatile and challenging situation in East Asia, the country's envoy-designate to the United States said Thursday.

King Pu-tsung, one of Ma's most trusted proteges, said in an interview with Taiwan's UFO Radio that even though relations across the Taiwan Strait has been developing peacefully in recent years, the situation in East Asia has become tense and tricky due to territorial disputes between Japan and its neighbors South Korea and China.

At a time when the U.S. is seeking to regain a strategic advantage and dominance in the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan is an important part of the new U.S. deployment, King said.

"While endeavoring to promote mutually beneficial relations with mainland China, we must simultaneously maintain close ties with the U.S. which is our most important ally," said King, the country's next de facto ambassador to the U.S.

King, a former ruling Kuomintang (KMT) secretary-general who is currently the top adviser to the party's international affairs department, said he is no stranger to diplomatic affairs. When he was young, he completed a training course at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Foreign Service Training Institute, he said. During his tenure as deputy mayor of Taipei from 2004-2006 when Ma was mayor, King said, he was deeply involved in city diplomacy operations.

More importantly, King said, he would be able to precisely convey Ma's messages to U.S. authorities and vice versa.

"What the U.S. wants is communications without cacophony," King said.

King, 56, also defended Ma's decision to name Wang Yu-chi, one of the president's national security advisers, to head the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) in the latest government reshuffle.

Despite his relatively young age of 43, Wang is very steady, composed, thoughtful and able to do things without making a show, King said.

"It's completely wrong to view the new lineup as a decision by the government to boost U.S. ties and distance itself from mainland China," King stressed.

King will succeed Jason Yuan as the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States, while Wang will replace Lai Shin-yuan as head of the MAC.

Yuan will return to serve as secretary-general of the National Security Council, while Lai will travel to Geneva to take up the post of Taiwan's new permanent representative to the World Trade Organization.

(By Sophia Yeh and Sofia Wu)
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