Thu, Aug 12, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Eugene Chien loses appointment to EU post over scandal

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The scandal over the issuance of legal documents to the wife of fugitive murder suspect Andrew Wang (汪傳浦) claimed a high-profile victim yesterday, as Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) announced a change in the posting of the nation's top diplomats.

Former representative to the US Chen Chien-jen (程建人) will be the new representative to the EU, after former foreign minister Eugene Chien (簡又新) appointment was canceled.

Chen confirmed that the change was partly a result of the UK representative office's blunder in issuing a passport to a fugitive murder suspect's wife.

Chen's unexpected announcement came while he concluded a press conference announcing Taiwan's 12th bid to join the UN. Saying that the government will select a new EU representative, Chen added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) made the decision in order to overhaul its personnel in Europe.

The minister said the UK representative office's negligence in issuing a passport and legal documents to Yeh Hsiu-chen (葉秀貞), the wife of murder suspect Andrew Wang, made him realize that every detail of the country's diplomatic work affects society deeply.

Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂), the nation's top representative to the UK and also a former foreign minister, has resigned over his office's mistakes.

Tien was the foreign minister when the representative office in Geneva issued a notarization of a power of attorney for Wang in July 2001.

He was the representative to the UK and Chien was the foreign minister when the representative office in London issued another notarization of power of attorney for Wang in February last year.

Following the two incidents, the UK office ignored a list of Wang's family members provided by investigators and issued Yeh a new passport and documents allowing real estate transfers.

"The government is actively seeking a new representative to the EU. The public has high expectations of our diplomatic efforts, and the EU is quickly expanding. We shall have new thinking and a new direction for our diplomatic policy," Chen said.

"Chien's performance as a foreign minister has been outstanding. I believe he will have another opportunity to serve the government in the future," added the minister.

The minister denied the government's decision to revoke Chien's appointment as having anything to do with Chien's alleged role in the corruption-tainted sale of French Lafayette-class frigates to Taiwan in the 1990s.

Wang, a former arms dealer, has been wanted since September 2000 in connection with the murder of Navy Captain Yin Ching-feng (尹清楓) in December 1993. Yin's death is believed to have been linked to the French frigate scandal.

Chen said he informed Chien of the ministry's decision personally.

"I told him about the decision in a brief phone call," he said.

Chien, when contacted by phone, told several reporters he knew nothing about the cancelation of his new posting before Chen announced it in the press conference. He declined to make further comments on the matter.

Senior ministry officials have said the ministry needs to send a new representative to the EU before the end of the summer.

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