MND denies discussing envoy in Singapore

By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post

The China Post–The defense minister’s recent trip to Singapore was to visit the country’s air show, and not to serve as a special envoy to convey Taiwan’s intention to replace its representative to the city-state, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday. A military delegation led by Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) visited Singapore earlier this month with the sole purpose of attending the air show to observe and learn the latest worldwide defense technologies and development, the MND said in a statement. A local report that said Kao was there to express the country’s desire to replace Vanessa Shih (史亞平) with a new representative was “far from true,” it added. The Chinese-language China Times Weekly reported yesterday that Kao had brought the name of Shih’s successor to Singaporean authorities during his trip to the country.

Shih was allegedly replaced because the Singaporean government had voiced dissatisfaction concerning “improper conduct” during her tenure, according to previous media reports. Asked about the claims, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday refused to comment, saying that it was “pure media speculation about the personnel reshuffle.” The MOFA repeatedly said Shih’s homecoming is part of the ministry’s routine rotations and has nothing to do rumors the Singaporean government was unhappy with her performance. Shih’s replacement has not been officially announced. Shih is scheduled to return to Taipei next week.