Yen backs Hsia' appointment despite mixed reaction
By Joseph Yeh ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Defense Minister Yen Ming (嚴明) yesterday backed the Cabinet's decision to appoint Taiwan's top envoy to Indonesia Andrew Hsia (夏立言) as the nation's new deputy defense minister despite criticism that the career diplomat lacks experience in defense affairs.
October 24, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
“Yang has been stationed to the United States and in Southeast Asia for more than a decade and he is well-experienced and highly skilled in negotiations and communications,” Yen said.
The military will be counting on Yang's specialty as a career diplomat to promote closer defense exchanges with foreign countries in the future, he said.
“We need him to take the job and we welcome him,” Yen said.
Yen made the comments during a legislative session yesterday when asked by lawmakers to comment on his new deputy.
The Executive Yuan announced Tuesday that the 63-year-old Hsia, a former deputy foreign minister, will become the military's deputy defense minister.
He was named the new deputy defense chief because of his close connection with several U.S. government officials responsible for arms sales to Taiwan, the Executive Yuan said.
The surprise announcement drew mix reactions from lawmakers yesterday.
Speaking during the same legislative session yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) cast doubt over the Cabinet's decision.
She argued that Hsia, though a seasoned diplomat, lacks experience in handling defense-related affairs and is not well acquainted with such issues.
Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), however, praised the appointment.
Hsia, who served many Foreign Ministry posts in the U.S, is fluent in English and experienced in dealing with the U.S. government, which makes him qualified for the position that is responsible for communicates with the Washington on arms sales issues, Lin said.
Asked to comment, Yen yesterday stressed that “no one is perfect” and Hsia's communication skill makes him a good choice for the post even though he still needs to expand his knowledge on defense affairs.
Yen also said the proposal to appoint Hsia was made by President Ma Ying-jeou about a month ago.
Taiwan Boosts Counterintelligence Capability
Meanwhile, Yen yesterday confirmed that the military has been expanding its counterintelligence units since April this year in an effort to beef up its anti-espionage capability with the increasing spy cases found in Taiwan military.
“We decided to recruit more military personnel to join our counterintelligence units since April 1,” Yen said.
China has never given up its attempts to invade Taiwan and it has also never stopped its espionage campaign within the country, he said, adding that the military needs to boost its capability to face the growing threat from Beijing.