President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday conferred a medal on former National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起), who resigned last month amid calls for him to step down to take responsibility for a controversy over US beef imports.
Ma bestowed the Order of Propitious Clouds, First Class, on Su, praising him for his contribution to cross-strait relations, foreign affairs and national defense.
Su’s achievements included improving cross-strait relations, pushing cross-strait negotiations, advancing “flexible diplomacy,” reforming the military and securing arms packages from the US, Ma said.
Su said the honor signified recognition of his effort and that of his team. Su said he ventured into politics around 20 years ago and was glad to serve the country again when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) returned to power in May 2008.
Taiwan was sick, Su said, and he believed the remedy prescribed by Ma and Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) was the only cure that would be effective.
“It is seriously ill because it has been sick for eight years,” he said. “It is sick in many areas. They include the economy, society, politics, foreign affairs, cross-strait relations and national defense.”
Fortunately, Su said, it is getting better under Ma’s leadership. The country is making progress domestically with different reform initiatives growing in a peaceful and stable environment, he said. Internationally, the country enjoyed more security, peace, international space, dignity and opportunities, Su said.
Su said he was glad to have the opportunity to participate in the country’s “treatment” and believed the “curative effect” would be clearer and better as time progresses.
He asked the public to be generous with public servants, especially when they do a good job, but said they also deserve criticism when they make mistakes.
Su resigned unexpectedly on Feb. 11, citing health and family matters. He declined to confirm whether he stepped down to take responsibility for the flap over beef imports.
The opposition had long urged Su to resign to shoulder responsibility for the fallout over a US beef protocol because he proposed signing it without obtaining public support.
The legislature passed an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) on Jan. 5 that barred imports of specific beef products from countries with documented cases of mad cow disease in the past decade. The vote reversed the deal the Ma administration had signed with Washington in October.