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Deputy defense chief to push son to serve

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's top envoy to Indonesia Andrew Hsia (夏立言), who was tapped to be the nation's new deputy defense minister, confirmed on late Monday that his son has not yet served his compulsory military service.

“I feel sorry that my son has not yet performed his required military service,” Hsia told local reporters on Monday.

Hsia, however, said he will continue to talk to his 32-year-old son in an attempt to persuade him to come back to Taiwan to fulfill his duty as a R.O.C. male.

Hsia made the comments in response to a local media report on Monday which accused Hsia's son of deliberately dodging military service.

Asked to comment, Hsia said that as a career diplomat, he has taken overseas assignments for decades, and his son has been living and studying overseas together with him.

He is currently working in New York after graduating from a university in the U.S., Hsia said.

Hsia noted that he reported his son's situation to President Ma Ying-jeou when he was asked by the president to take the assignment in the Defense Ministry.

Ma told him to continue to communicate with his son over the issue, Hsia said.

Taiwan's military has announced the abolishment of the existing conscription system and its replacement with a fully voluntary military by Jan. 1, 2015.

However, the new policy will not affect eligible Taiwanese men born before Jan. 1, 1994. Taiwanese men born before that date are required to serve their voluntary enlistment either in the military or by completing alternative service for one year once they reach the age of 19.

Asked to comment, military spokesman Luo Shou-he (羅紹和) said Hsia's son is not exempted from military service and he will be asked to perform his compulsory military service once he returns to Taiwan.

The 63-year-old Hsia is a former deputy foreign minister and had served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in important posts in the United States, including serving as head of Taiwan's representative office in New York.

MOFA Downplays Hsia's Successor Rumor

Meanwhile, local media report said yesterday that Hsia's vacancy in Indonesia will be taken over by Vice Foreign Minister Vanessa Shih (史亞平).

However, the report has been refuted by Shih and Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂).

Minister Lin said his ministry has yet to make its final decision on Hsia's successor. The decision will be made later this month, after Hsia returns to Taiwan to take up the military post.

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