The man appointed to lead the office, former South Korean minister of national defense Kim Jang-soo, is a former army chief of staff with a wealth of diplomatic experience having been stationed in the US for a while. Kim is responsible for chairing weekly meetings on foreign relations and national defense, coordinating defense policies and proposing strategy to the president.
When necessary, he will also be called to convene the South Korean security council. This re-organization is core to Park’s stronger emphasis on national security issues.
In China, after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee’s Third Plenum passed the establishment of its own security council, Chinese State Councilor and Secretary-General of the Foreign Affairs Leading Group Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) will be responsible for liaising with South Korea, in an attempt to dissipate suspicions between the two countries.
China’s establishment of its council is different as it was ordered by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and is led by the CCP.
However, it does highlight the existence of mounting regional tensions with its goals of “effectively address[ing] the recent territorial disputes between neighboring countries.”
Not only is tension intensifying over the Diaoyutais, so are tensions over control in the South China Sea as well as internal problems with Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibetan nationalism.
Taiwan also falls within the scope of China’s national security concerns. This shows that Taiwan’s own concerns are of a different kind altogether.
When considering Taiwan’s council and the person appointed to head it given this international context — putting aside for the time being any suspicions of covert authorization from an outside party — the council is, from a purely legal perspective, an advisory body responsible for assisting the president in deciding policy concerning national security.
This is the same for that of the original template for the council — the US National Security Council.
Even when it was headed by former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, it was not responsible for formulating policy.
In Taiwan’s case, national security refers to a very specific and clear scope: national defense, foreign relations, cross-strait affairs and matters related to major changes to these areas.
The legal stipulations of the functions and powers of the council’s secretary-general are to “carry out the president’s orders, and in line with NSC resolutions, deal with council affairs and direct and supervise staff.”
Not fulfilling this role amounts to dereliction of duty, while overstepping the law amounts to an abuse of power. There is no place for confusion concerning this role.
In other words, when King emphasized that he will not influence the year-end elections, he should instead have said that he “is not allowed” to do so.
Whether what he says and what he ends up doing are one and the same thing remains to be seen.
Then there was his declaration that his new job description included promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
It is much more than that, and his words betray his complete failure to grasp the situation Taiwan is in regarding its current international status. When King says things like this, how can the public not be worried?