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King Pu-tsung to head National Security Council: source (update)

2014/02/07 14:18:29

Taipei, Feb. 7 (CNA) King Pu-tsung, Taiwan's representative to the United States, will become President Ma Ying-jeou's chief adviser on national security affairs, a Presidential Office source said Friday.

King will take over the post of secretary-general of the National Security Council from Jason Yuan, who is being named as a senior adviser to the president, the source said on condition of anonymity.

A "senior diplomat" will be appointed to fill the post of Taiwan's representative to Washington, the source said without giving a name.

The new appointments are part of Taiwan's efforts to pursue regional peace and prosperity and cope with new challenges in Taiwan-U.S. economic and trade relations, a new situation in cross-Taiwan Strait ties and changes in the national defense system, according to the source.

In his new position, King will help the government strengthen its security cooperation with the United States and push for Taiwan's bid to join regional trade blocs, mainly the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that is led by the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the source said.

The connections that King built in Washington during his posting there as Taiwan's representative will be very helpful to these efforts, the source said. King replaced Yuan as head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States in December 2012.

In addition, King's good political judgment and deep understanding of Taiwan's domestic situation can contribute to the government's efforts to promote cross-strait ties, which have entered a new phase since the two sides began engaging in government-to-government exchanges, the source said.

The source, meanwhile, dismissed speculations that King is being reassigned to Taipei so that he can help the ruling Kuomintang work out its campaign strategy for the municipal and other local elections due to be held in late November.

As secretary-general of the NSC, King will remain politically neutral, the source said.

The source confirmed press reports, notably by the China Times, about King's new appointment.

In a front-page article Thursday, the local daily also said Shen lyushun, currently Taiwan's representative to the United Kingdom, will be the next representative to the United States. The veteran diplomat had previously served as vice foreign minister and deputy representative at TECRO.

The 57-year-old King, considered widely as Ma's closest aide, served as deputy Taipei mayor from 2004-2006, when Ma was mayor. A year after Ma was elected president in 2008, King was appointed KMT secretary-general by Ma, who doubles as party chairman.

During the 2012 presidential election, King helped Ma with his re-election bid, serving as executive director of Ma's campaign office.

Holding a Ph.D degree in journalism from the University of Texas in Austin, King has also taught at Taiwan's National Chengchi University and at Chinese University of Hong Kong.

(By Lee Shu-hua, Jay Chen and Y.F. Low)