MOFA denies report on new envoy to US

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By Joseph Yeh,The China Post

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday reiterated that Taiwan-United States bilateral relations are sound, in a move to downplay media speculation that Washington is not satisfied with the list of names of proposed representatives Taiwan has given to the U.S. Calling the Chinese-language newspaper report “ungrounded,” Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), director-general of the MOFA’s Department of North American Affairs, told reporters yesterday that the present day marks the best of U.S.-Taiwan relations in 30 years. “Our mutual communication remains smooth,” Linghu said, dismissing the media report as “pure speculation.” He was responding to the Apple Daily report that quoted sources as saying Taiwan’s representative to the U.S, Jason Yuan (袁健生) is expected to finish his term and head back to Taiwan soon. The Taiwan government has proposed three possible candidates to take over Yuan’s current position, including the incumbent head of the National Security Council (NSC), Hu Wei-jen (胡為真), his deputy, Liu Chih-kung (劉志攻) and former NSC chief Su Chi (蘇起), the report said. The American government reportedly rejected all three choices, the report said. Hu was supposedly rejected because of his secret service background, while Su was not a favorable choice for his has reported “mishandling” the U.S. beef import issue that angered Washington.

Liu was simply ignored by the U.S because he is less known in Washington, it said. Asked to confirm if Yuan will be leaving from the top MOFA post in the U.S. soon, Linghu said yesterday he would not comment on personnel reshuffle issue. He also refused to comment on the possible successor of Yuan, saying it is a decision to be made by “high-level government officials.” Meanwhile, the Presidential Office yesterday also refuted media speculations on the possible MOFA and NSC personnel reshuffle.

Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) urged media to stop such “ungrounded speculations.”