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China Times: President battling for position in history

2012/09/20 16:07:38

The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou announced a large-scale adjustment of its national security team Wednesday, with the emphasis on expanding Taiwan's foreign relations.

Drawing the most attention was the designation of King Pu-tsung, a long-time aide of Ma who currently serves as the top adviser for the ruling Kuomintang's international affairs department, as the country's representative to the United States.

Since King visited the United States as Ma's proxy last September, Washington has considered him the best candidate for the position. From Washington's point of view, if King assumes the post, the U.S. government will get a more direct understanding of Ma's policies with regard to the U.S., Japan and China.

We hope that in the next three years, King will bring about a breakthrough on issues such as arms sales, trade and Taiwan's accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Over the past four years under incumbent representative Jason Yuan, Taiwan has managed to rebuild trust with Washington and will be included in the U.S. visa waiver program very soon. After Yuan assumes his new position as secretary-general of the National Security Council, he is expected to maintain smooth communications with King and to help Ma further promote relations with Washington.

In other changes, National Security Adviser Wang Yu-chi will take over as head of the Mainland Affairs Council, while incumbent MAC head Lai Shin-yuan will become permanent representative to the World Trade Organization. Meanwhile, David Y.L. Lin, representative to the European Union and Belgium, will take over as minister of foreign affairs.

The new personnel lineup demonstrates that Ma is honoring his commitments to the United States. As evidenced by Ma's proposal on Taiwan's "three lines of defense" and "three legs of national security," the president sees Taiwan-U.S. relations as a very important part of the government's agenda and he knows very well that without U.S. commitment to Taiwan's security, there will be no "economic dividend" or "peace dividend" across the Taiwan Strait.

Through the personnel adjustment, Ma is displaying his ambition to create new horizons for Taiwan's foreign and cross-Taiwan Strait ties. This is also an important fight for his position in history. (Editorial abstract -- Sept. 20, 2012)

(By Y.F. Low)