Fri, Jun 20, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Envoy to Brazil resigns over residency dispute

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday that Taiwan's representative to Brazil Chou Shu-yeh (周叔夜), who has permanent residency in the South American country, tendered his resignation a few days ago.

“Three of the MOFA’s diplomatic representatives have permanent residency in foreign countries. They are the representatives to Japan, Brazil and Bahrain,” ministry spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) said at a regular press briefing.

A report in the Chinese-language United Daily News said that an investigation by the Central Personnel Administration found that about 30 of the approximately 1,000 diplomatic officials posted overseas have permanent foreign residency status.

However, that number includes not only ministry personnel, but also public servants posted overseas by other government agencies, Yeh said.

She said the ministry has approximately 650 employees assigned overseas, and none of them hold dual citizenship. Only one political appointee, representative to Switzerland George Liu (劉寬平), has US citizenship, she said.

The report also stated that the Central Personnel Administration will keep a record of public officials who have permanent residency in foreign countries, but would not ask them to renounce their status.

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has come under fire from the opposition over the foreign residency issue, with some legislators questioning the loyalty of officials who hold foreign residency status.

The issue came under the spotlight after Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) apologized for obtaining a US green card in 2005 when he was serving as the nation’s ambassador to Guatemala. He said he had officially given up his green card one month before assuming his current position on May 20.

Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers have, however, come to the defense of the former representative to Japan, Koh Se-kai (�?�), arguing that Koh had no choice but to apply for permanent residency in Japan because he was blacklisted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government for more than 30 years and stripped of his passport because of his pro-independence remarks.

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