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MOFA modifies rotation rules for diplomatic staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has decided to modify its regulations on job rotation for overseas diplomats to accommodate the rising numbers of married diplomat couples.

MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said yesterday the ministry decided to make the modification on a rule for diplomatic personnel stationed abroad for reasons of fairness because there are more and more married diplomatic personnel.

Existing regulations stipulate that married diplomats can apply to be stationed at the same overseas office or embassy. The regulation was set in 2005. Before 2005, the ministry forbid married diplomat couples from serving in the same office.

Since the rule first took effect in 2005, there are more and more married diplomats working in the same overseas office. According to the ministry's latest statistics, married couples are now stationed together in 15 of Taiwan's overseas offices or embassies, Kao said.

To set a fairer standard to accommodate the need for both married and single diplomatic personnel on overseas job rotations, MOFA decided to modify the existing rule, she said.

Now only those couples that apply to be stationed at the same overseas office for the first time will be prioritized. For those who failed to successfully apply to work at the same office, MOFA will arrange the partners to be stationed in nearby cities or countries, Kao said. The modified rule will take effect next year.

Kao's comment came after a local newspaper said yesterday that the policy to encourage married diplomats to work under the same roof has caused some minor disputes.

Diplomatic sources told the Chinese-language Apple Daily that some have been complaining that there were numerous cases of conflict of interest when married couple works together in the same office. It will also further complicate work relationships, the report said.

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