Thu, Jun 12, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Top officials deny reports of discord at security agency

FACT AND FICTION The head of the NSC said he was surprised by reports of personnel changes in his agency that turned out to be far from the truth

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two top officials of the Presidential Office yesterday denied media reports of conflicts within the National Security Council (NSC), saying that recent personnel adjustments were designed to improve its functions.

"There is no reshuffle or reorganization going on in the NSC. Those rumors are completely without truth," NSC Secretary-General Kang Ning-hsiang (康寧祥) said, referring to recent reports in Chinese-language newspapers. "I am wondering why the media recently reported so much groundless information."

The resignation of NSC deputy secretary general Chang Jung-feng (張榮豐) last month triggered much discussion in the press about whether Kang's leadership was causing friction within the agency.

Kang, accompanied by Presidential Office Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) -- also a former head of the NSC -- said a number of recent media stories had turned out to be false.

Kang said that when he read reports that NSC Deputy Secretary-General Antonio Chiang (江春男) would be reassigned to serve as Taiwan's representative to Israel and that National Security Bureau chief Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) was resigning, the first thing he thought was "Why I was not informed?"

"Then I immediately called Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) to check these stories," Kang said. "He just answered that he had no idea and asked me what was going on and what the source of the information was."

Kang said that leaks themselves indicated there were some problems within the council that would have to be addressed.

Chiou said Kang's work was very difficult, primarily because the NSC was an old organization with special characteristics and because specious reports about it frequently surfaced in the media.

"On top of this, the NSC's annual budget is not even NT$150 million. It's a poor government agency and is even smaller than the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission," Chiou said.

Chiou and Kang once were opponents and had clashed when they were leaders of the opposition movement in the 1980s before the DPP was formed. Chiou, who then was a young democratic theorist and radical grassroots activist, attacked Kang for wanting to reform the country by joining the KMT-dominated system.

Kang mentioned the unpleasant experiences yesterday after Chiou spoke.

"I am moved to see that Chiou is defending me because he was in the past a vehement opponent and has criticized me severely over many decades," Kang said.

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