Thu, Nov 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Legislator says civilian should oversee military

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) yesterday called for a civilian to head the defense ministry.

"The position of minister of national defense does not necessarily have to be filled by a military official," Lin said. "Look at the US: many of the important military positions are occupied by non-military officials."

Lin made the remarks when asked to comment on a potential reshuffle of military and intelligence personnel, which could also affect Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑).

Lee was formerly chief of the general staff before he assumed his post as minister.

As of press time yesterday, the ministry had not made any comments about the potential reshuffle.

Lin, however, said he would not be surprised if Lee stepped down.

"Lee has devoted much of his energy to attempting to persuade the legislature to approve the arms procurement proposal. In the meantime, the discipline of the military has gone from bad to worse and we have not seen any effort [on Lee's part] to address the issue," Lin said.

In addition to supporting the axing of Lee, Lin suggested that the ministry reshuffle all its high-ranking military officers.

"We need fresh ideas for the military," he said.

National Security Bureau (NSB) Director Hsueh Shih-min (薛石民) and Chief of the General Staff Lee Tien-yu (李天羽) are the two most likely candidates to replace Lee should the president opt for a reshuffle.

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