This makes Wang’s appointment hard to accept. Even legislators from Wang’s own party — the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — have called him things like “parrot,” “little puppet,” “King Pu-tsung’s (金溥聰) private soldier” and “incapable of taking charge.”
Furthermore, the new Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman, former KMT secretary-general Lin Join-sane (林中森), has absolutely no experience in dealing with China or any kind of international negotiations.
This means that the foundation and the council, which are the two organizations directly responsible for Taiwan’s China policy, are now both to be led by unqualified people, and Ma may very well have ulterior motives for doing so.
Of all the recent changes in personnel, King’s appointment as the next representative to the US is without a doubt the one that has received the most attention.
As Ma’s closest ally, he is similar to Wang Yu-chi in that he lacks the professional practical experience needed for the job of Taiwan’s representative to our most important ally.
What makes it worse is that he knows nothing about diplomacy. King’s appointment is also contrary to the pledge he originally made about never becoming a member of the government or Cabinet. It is yet another example of politicians going back on their words.
Those involved in King’s appointment claim that he will help establish “noise-free” communication between Taiwan and the US.
However, many people have expressed all kinds of conjecture about the move, including suggestions that it is about strengthening Taiwan-US relations or that Taiwan is trying to get closer to the US while distancing itself from China.
As far as other personnel changes are concerned, they will not make much difference, because Ma’s “diplomatic truce” policy will continue unchanged.
Under Ma’s tenure, new appointments are just a game of musical chairs between right-hand men and puppets.
Notably, Lai Shin-yuan’s (賴幸媛) service as MAC chairwoman has acted as a fig leaf for the Ma government’s pro-China policies for several years, but she is not needed anymore. She is a has-been, and so is foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤).
After the Cabinet reshuffle, national security and diplomacy are now totally in the hands of the “Ma gang,” and a “puppet premier” is still leading the Cabinet.
With Ma in full control of the government, the Cabinet and the KMT, he can be sure that his wishes and decisions will be carried out in full.
However, even though his ratings in opinion polls are abysmally low and people are complaining that the officials who really should be replaced have been left in office, Ma clearly does not care what people think of him.
Instead, he is flying in the face of public opinion by appointing his own people to key positions that put them in control of the foreign relations strategy.
Apart from reflecting Ma’s habit of acting in complete disregard of public opinion, the Cabinet reshuffle also suggests that, considering his ambition to inflate his historical legacy, Ma may well use the remainder of his presidency to make some major changes in Taiwan’s relations with China.
People still remember quite clearly how King, while visiting the US just a year ago, said that Ma’s government would not rule out negotiating a cross-strait peace accord with China.