President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the government’s national security branch owe the nation an apology for the recent turmoil over the resignation of former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) deputy minister Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) amid allegations that he leaked state secrets, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
Tsai said someone in the national security system must take responsibility and step down over the incident.
The council announced that Chang quit to “devote more time to care for his sick mother” on Aug. 16, but Chang responded with a press statement the next day saying he had been forced to resign.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
The incident quickly snowballed when unnamed sources were cited in various reports over the past week questioning Chang’s conduct in handling cross-strait affairs, including allegations that he has been spying for China, while Chang has confronted the council over the allegations.
Tsai said that the national security system, including the National Security Council (NSC), the National Security Bureau and other branches, form the backbone of national security.
The system is a public asset and should not be considered the property of any one person or party, nor should the wishes of any one person or party decide how such a system works, Tsai said.
Tsai appeared to be alluding to allegations that NSC Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) was involved in the incident.
She said the president is the head of state and the highest-ranked official responsible for the national security system under the Constitution, adding that Ma has not only refused to apologize, but also failed to explain the incident.
Ma has allowed his subordinates to go their own way on the matter, which has caused turmoil and directly affected the government’s credibility, Tsai said.
The Chang incident has exposed the national security system’s lack of a clear chain of command and clear regulations, Tsai said.
That a system which is supposed to aid in overseeing cross-strait interaction and offer suggestions on foreign policy is exhibiting such a spectacular failure, with actions that border on unconstitutional, should not be tolerated by the public, she said.
Tsai said that cross-strait relations directly influence regional stability, as well as national development, adding that the Ma administration’s failure to coordinate within the Cabinet and to gain people’s trust threatens the stable development of cross-strait relations.
She urged the judiciary to pursue an in-depth investigation into the case and also called on the public to be alert to the administration’s actions, adding that Ma should apologize to the public and call someone within the system to account over the incident.
Separately, the DPP yesterday released the results of its latest survey on the incident.
DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the poll showed that 48.9 percent of respondents felt that the scandal had stemmed from political infighting, while only 15.4 percent thought that Chang was dismissed from his post due to leaking national secrets.
The poll showed that 66.1 percent of respondents said that if Chang were dismissed due to leaking national secrets, the accords signed with China in recent years should be reviewed.
Chang’s dismissal would directly harm the development of cross-strait issues, according to 53.4 percent of respondents, Lin said.
Lin said that only 11.1 percent were satisfied with the government’s handling of the issue, while 63.1 percent were not, adding that 27.5 percent were satisfied with the government’s handling of cross-strait issues in general, while 64.9 percent were not.
The poll found that 78.2 percent of respondents felt that the Legislative Yuan should have more oversight and say in the signing of cross-strait accords, Lin said.
The poll was conducted by the DPP on Monday and Tuesday and drew from 946 respondents aged 20 or above. Its margin of error was 3.25 percentage points.
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