Thu, Feb 28, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Retired admiral chosen to chair Defense Committee


Retired admiral Ku Chung-lien (顧崇廉), who had been navy commander-in-chief and deputy defense minister in his day, yesterday became one of the three chairpersons who had been chosen by the Defense Committee of the Legislative Yuan to head the committee during the current legislative session.

Ku, a member of the PFP, is the highest-ranked military official to serve as a lawmaker after retirement.

Ku had also been Taiwan's representative to the Netherlands between 1997 and 2000. He became a lawmaker-at-large of the PFP after the legislative elections at the end of last year.

Ku last served in the legislature during his term as the deputy defense minister between 1993 and 1994.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was then a lawmaker with the defense committee of the legislature.

Ku has built ties with Chen since then.

He further strengthened the relationship after he was promoted to the position of navy commander-in-chief in 1994.

He took command of the navy for three years, during which time he had invited Chen to attend important naval events after Chen became mayor of Taipei.

Because of his special ties with Chen, Ku became one of the few military officials friendly to the opposition DPP at a time when the DPP was still condemned by the military for its move toward independence.

These ties had prompted the press to speculate that Ku would become the first defense minister of the DPP-led government after Chen won the presidential election in 2000.

Although Ku did not become the defense minister, his influence was still strongly felt in the military because many of his known followers in the navy -- men like Li Chieh (李傑) and Miao Yung-ching (苗永慶) -- got promoted to top ranks. Li is now the Chief of the General Staff, while Miao currently heads the navy.

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