King Pu-tsung resigns despite calls to stay

QUITTING::Despite several pleas by President Ma, the heads of the security council and the Presidential Office will step down, citing personal reasons, taking some by surprise

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Feb 07, 2015 - Page 1

The Presidential Office yesterday said it has approved the resignations of National Security Council Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) and Presidential Office Secretary-General Timothy Yang (楊進添), despite President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) repeatedly calling for the two officials to remain in their posts.

King is to be succeeded by former minister of national defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) and Yang by former deputy legislative speaker Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權). The new appointments are set to take effect on Thursday next week.

The Presidential Office said that Yang tendered his resignation several days ago on the grounds that his mission had been completed, and, after being asked to remain by the president, resubmitted his resignation citing the need to take care of his elderly mother.

Yang’s second attempt to resign was approved, and, in accordance with precedent, he is to be hired as a senior adviser to the president, the Presidential Office said.

King resigned for “personal health and family reasons” and was also asked not to leave by the president several times, according to the Presidential Office.

King reportedly underwent a coronary artery stenting procedure in October last year.

A source told CNA that King had another heart operation last week, and his family has insisted that he leave his post due to the workload and pressure.

According to a CNA report, King is not expected to work in the near future.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said he was surprised about the resignations, adding that Kao taking over the national security council was incomprehensible, as he previously resigned from his post as minister of national defense due to health concerns.

“The changes to power brought about by the shuffle between King and Kao are not easily understood. We hope that the Presidential Office would disclose more information regarding the arrangement so that the nation can have a clearer idea of what is going on,” Huang said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said King’s resignation also took him by surprise: “I seriously don’t know why [he resigned]; maybe he has other plans for his life.”

Meanwhile, Charles Chen (陳以信), previously deputy commissioner of the KMT's Culture and Communication Committee, is to replace Yin Wei (殷偉) as one of the Presidential Office's spokespersons, with the other being Ma Wei-kuo (馬瑋國). Yin will serve as the president's secretary, in charge of the president's speechwriting team.