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September 26, 2017

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Designated envoy to Thailand resigns before taking office

Taiwan's newly appointed top envoy to Thailand has resigned from his position due to family issues even before arriving in Bangkok, Foreign Minister David Lee said Wednesday.

The Presidential Office announced last month that John Young, the former National Security Bureau (NSB) director-general, had been tapped for the post of top representative to Thailand.

The office previously said that it had appointed Young, a retired Army general and ex-intelligence chief, to take advantage of his military experience in an effort to enhance cooperation with Thailand and the whole Southeast Asian region as part of the government's "New Southbound Policy."

Young would have become the first ex-NSB chief to take up a top overseas envoy post.

But Foreign Minister Lee said during an interpellation session at the Legislature Wednesday that Young had resigned due to a family member's health issue.

Lee said that Young had been "more than willing" to take up the post.

He said Young had already been preparing for it for a period of time but had been forced to give up the appointment due to the family member's poor health.

Family Member

is Wife: Reports

Lee added that Young had not yet been sworn into the office.

The ministry is now looking for Young's replacement and no final decision has yet been made.

Local media reports said the family member was Young's wife, who recently underwent surgery for a brain tumor.

Taiwan's incumbent de facto ambassador to Thailand Kelly Hsieh — a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of North American Affairs — will stay in the post until a new appointment is made.

Young resigned from the NSB's top post in late 2016, saying he felt he had "completed his mission ... at this time," according to Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang.

His post was later filled by Peng Sheng-chu.

Storied Career

Peng, a former Air Force Commander who once acted as the chief aide-de-camp to the Presidential Office during Chen Shui-bian's tenure, became head of the Military Intelligence Bureau in 2005.

In 2009, he was appointed by former President Ma Ying-jeou to act as a strategic adviser to the Presidential Office.

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