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Taiwan's new defense minister takes office

2015/01/30 13:10:12

Adm. Kao Kuang-chi (right) becomes the new defense minister.

Taipei, Jan. 30 (CNA) Kao Kuang-chi (高廣圻) took office as Taiwan's new defense minister at a ceremony Friday, replacing Yen Ming (嚴明) who resigned recently to give way to "younger leadership."

At Friday's handover, Minister without Portfolio Lin Junq-tzer (林政則), who presided over the ceremony, praised Yen's work as minister and said the military's efforts to safeguard the country will continue under Kao's leadership.

Lin said that Kao, a former Navy commander and chief of the General Staff, will use his expertise to help carry out an indigenous submarine program and downsize the country's troops as the military continues its efforts to build a small but elite force.

Kao, 63, replaces Yen, a former Air Force commander and also chief of the General Staff who was assigned to the post of defense minister in August 2013, when the military was facing great public anger over the death of an Army corporal in a high-profile case of abuse in the military.

Under challenging circumstances, Yen tackled the tasks of improving the military's internal management system, overseeing the reform of the military justice system and ensuring human rights protection in the military, Lin said.

Lin also praised Yen's efforts to help move the military closer to its goal of becoming an all-volunteer force, noting that volunteer recruitment has been growing.

Earlier this week, Kao was named as the replacement for Yen, 65, who said he felt he had "completed his mission and wanted to resign from his position to promote younger leadership."

Meanwhile, Army Commander Gen. Yen De-fa (嚴德發) is scheduled to assume duties as chief of the General Staff, at a ceremony scheduled for later Friday.

The post he is vacating will be filled by Deputy Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正), the defense ministry said Tuesday in statement detailing a personnel reshuffle.

Air Force Commander Gen. Liu Chen-wu (劉震武) will be promoted to deputy defense minister, and Liu's post will be filled by Defense Administrative Deputy Minister Lt. Gen. Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴), according to the statement.

Navy Commander Adm. Chen Yung-kang (陳永康) will become a strategy adviser to the president, Vice Adm. Li Hsi-ming (李喜明) will fill Chen's post, the ministry said.

Other changes that will take effect Friday include Shen's promotion to the rank of general and Li's to admiral, the ministry said.

(By Elaine Hou)