Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) was reticent on Friday about his future responsibilities as President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) national security adviser, saying only that they would not involve managing the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) election campaigns this year.
He said he is “very clear that my next job will be secretary-general of the National Security Council [NSC],” not of the KMT Central Standing Committee, King said in Washington.
He has said more than once that he had run KMT campaigns for the last time in 2012, when Ma ran for re-election, King added.
King was fending off claims that Ma wants his trusted aide back in Taipei to help run the KMT’s campaigns ahead of the important municipal and other local elections in late November. He did not respond directly to a question about the possibility of a meeting between Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
He said he needed to focus on his current job and that he will do his best in his new position.
King expects to return to Taiwan in the middle of next month, to be replaced by Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), former deputy representative to the US and later deputy foreign minister.
On his job as head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington since December 2012, King said the experience has been “very precious.”
“It is work that adds nutrients to one’s life,” he said.
A source from the Presidential Office confirmed on Friday that King, 57, will replace Jason Yuan (袁健生), 72, as secretary-general of the NSC, while Yuan will become a senior adviser to the president.
Yuan was also King’s predecessor as Taiwan’s representative in Washington.
Despite King’s repeated denials that his new appointment would have anything to do with the KMT’s campaigns for the year-end elections, a number of KMT lawmakers shared political observers’ beliefs that King is being reassigned to Taipei so that he can help the KMT work out its campaign strategy for the year-end elections.
“For King not to get involved in election campaigning would be against humanity, against King’s working style and against the trust that Ma has put in King,” KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said, adding that it would be hard for King to stay away from the elections since the people involved in the party apparatus for election matters “are basically all his people.”
Additional reporting by Chen Yen-ting