The Control Yuan is said to have secretly concluded an investigation into an alleged incident involving Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanessa Shih (史亞平) during her tenure as representative to Singapore, in a report that allegedly concludes the representative office in Singapore was responsible for “a major violation of law and dereliction of duty.”
The Chinese-language China Times reported yesterday that the Control Yuan-led investigation launched following Shih’s recall as representative to Singapore — a move widely believed to be the result of souring bilateral relations — concluded on June 20 that “a significant violation of law and serious dereliction of duty had been committed by the representative office.”
However, as a result of the -“delicate nature of Taiwan-Singapore relations” and concern that the report could damage the national interest, the Presidential Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allegedly convinced the Control Yuan to conclude the probe in secret, the report said.
Those involved have been neither impeached nor disciplined, the report said.
The Singaporean government reportedly voiced dissatisfaction with Shih’s behavior after the former representative allegedly displayed the Republic of China (ROC) flag and sang the national anthem without official consent during the city-state’s national day last year.
A purported meeting between Shih and Chen Show Mao (陳碩茂), a member of Singapore’s opposition Workers’ Party, was also said to have infuriated former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀).
In November last year, the representative office was not invited to a centennial commemoration of the Hsinhai Revolution, which was jointly organized by Taiwan’s National Sun Yet-sen Memorial Hall and its counterpart in Singapore.
The event not only galvanized public concern over the state of diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Singapore, but also prompted Control Yuan member Chou Yang-shan (周陽山), who was invited to the memorial, to initiate the probe into exchanges between the two countries.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the “series dereliction of duty” referred to in the report was Shih’s “inappropriate conduct” in her exchanges with Singaporean government officials that were said to have had a negative impact on the bilateral relations.
The “major violation of law” referred to the refusal by former representative office division chief Chang Shih-jui (張詩瑞) to answer questions when called to a meeting with Control Yuan members dealing with the case, the source said, an act that constituted a violation of the Control Act (監察法).
Sources said that given the major changes in Taiwan-Singapore relations, bilateral ties could be damaged “irreparably” if key parts of the report were made public.
Confirming receipt of the report late last month, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said the ministry would review the content and take action on the proposals made by Control Yuan members where necessary, and would seek to clarify any misunderstandings with the agency before a specified deadline.
The ministry believes Shih performed well during her term as representative to Singapore and did not commit any breach of duty, Yang said.
Quoting a ministry official, the Chinese-language United Evening News wrote yesterday that the Control Yuan report did not accuse Shih of committing major breaches of duty, but rather instructed her to “engage in introspection and actively deal with the matter.”