Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) on Thursday declined to comment on media reports that he has been tapped to take over as head of the National Security Council (NSC) next month, saying only that similar speculation has appeared numerous times.
King, a close aide of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), was questioned by reporters at a Lunar New Year event hosted by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Washington on Thursday night about Taiwanese media reports that he was set to return to Taipei as early as next month to serve as the council’s secretary-general.
The reports also said that Representative to the UK Shen Lyu-hsun (沈呂巡) would replace King in Washington, while National Security Council Secretary-General Jason Yuan (袁健生) would be appointed as a presidential advisor.
The reports said there was no word yet on whether Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) would stay in his post.
The reports quoted an unnamed source as saying that the government has discussed appointing Shen to be the representative to the US with Washington, and had received a positive response.
Shen is a senior career diplomat who previously served as deputy representative to the US. He also has close ties with Ma, as they were high-school classmates.
According to the source, Shen, currently in Edinburgh to handle the efforts to extradite British fugitive Zain Dean back to Taipei, is very interested in taking over the job in Washington.
Deputy Representative to the US Leo Lee (李澄然) also told reporters on Thursday that the appointments of diplomats is within the authority of the foreign ministry, so it would not be suitable for an overseas post to comment on the matter.
Since King took over as the US post, he has given his full effort to establishing connections to people from various fields in the US, and enhancing Taiwan-US relations, and will continue to do so, Lee said.
King was sworn in as representative to the US on Nov. 28, 2012, replacing Yuan. King had served as director of Ma’s re-election campaign for the 2012 presidential election after leaving his post as secretary-general of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in January 2011.
Additional reporting by staff reporter