New NSC chief positive to U.S.-Taiwan security cooperation: expert

05/20/2020 02:46 PM
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Wellington Koo/ CNA file photo
Wellington Koo/ CNA file photo

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) The appointment of Wellington Koo (顧立雄), a U.S.-educated business lawyer, as the new director-general of Taiwan's National Security Council (NSC), could strengthen Taiwan's security cooperation with the U.S., a security analyst said Tuesday.

Koo, 61, is a graduate of National Taiwan University College of Law and holds a Master's degree in law from New York University.

He became a practicing lawyer at the age of 25, has been elected as a legislator and has chaired the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, responsible for investigating and recovering ill-gotten wealth of political parties and their affiliated organizations during the martial law period.

Koo has also chaired the Financial Supervisory Commission before assuming his new position on Wednesday when Tsai began her second term as the country's president.

In a media interview, Koo said he was asked by Tsai to take the position as director-general of the NSC, a forum under the chairmanship of the president tasked with advising on matters relating to national security and foreign policy.

Koo's appointment has raised doubts due to his scant background in security and foreign relations.

However, Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a senior analyst at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research, sees the appointment in a positive light.

"Koo, as a pragmatic lawyer with a U.S. education background, could be a plus to communication and cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S., as U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien is himself a lawyer, Su argued.

Most countries' national security teams tend to handle security problems with complex and cross-field approaches, hence a national security officer does not have be a man with either a defense or foreign affairs background, Su said.

Tsai might have picked Koo considering his pragmatism and ability to offer maneuverable solutions, which are pretty common qualities to someone coming from the law field, Su said.

Meanwhile, Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), a Democratic Progressive Party legislator, described the appointment as a "rare but creative" move, noting that Koo's predecessors have been either from the military, the security agencies or the foreign ministry.

Wang said he believes that Koo's arrival at the NSC can fill gaps in its international finance and economy, while his supposed shortcomings in security and foreign affairs can be complemented by his three deputies in the short term.

(By Yeh Su-ping, Matt Yu and Emerson Lim)

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