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Presidential Office mum on report claiming King to take top security post

TAIPEI--The Presidential Office declined to comment yesterday on a media report that King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), the country's representative to the United States, will become President Ma Ying-jeou's chief national security advisor in the next government reshuffle.

According to a front-page story run by Taiwan-based China Times, King has been tapped to replace Jason Yuan (袁健生) as secretary-general of the National Security Council (國安會) and is expected to return to Taiwan to assume his new post next month.

King's position will be taken over by Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), who is currently Taiwan's representative to the United Kingdom, the daily said.

The paper, citing unidentified sources, said Ma discussed the issue many times with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) over the Lunar New Year holiday and is expected to make a public announcement soon.

Asked about the matter during a Lunar New Year celebration in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 30, King did not issue a direct denial, saying instead that such reports have emerged more than once. He also asked reporters not to talk about politics during a festive occasion.

The China Times carried a similar story on Jan. 30 and rumors about King's imminent return to Taipei have begun to surface since last summer.

The 57 year-old King, considered widely as Ma's closest aide, has been the U.S. representative since December 2012.

Shen, 64, had served as Taiwan's deputy representative to the United States and as a deputy foreign minister before becoming the UK representative in December 2011.

There is widespread speculation that Shen's vacancy will be filled by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanessa Shih, but Shih has denied any knowledge of such an arrangement.

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