The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday denied that EU Representative Shen Lyu-hsun (沈呂巡) is set to succeed deputy minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言), who tendered his resignation on Monday.
The deputy minister post likely left vacant by Hsia must be filled by the president because it is a political appointment, MOFA spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said.
The president, however, could authorize the foreign minister to find a replacement, Chen said.
Hsia is the first official to offer to resign over the government’s much criticized typhoon relief effort when he claimed responsibility for a MOFA cable, dated Aug. 11, that instructed overseas representative offices to reject foreign aid except for cash.
Sources at MOFA said Hsia would be on leave until early next month — a period of time set out by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to issue demerits to officials.
Shen, a former representative to Geneva and former deputy representative to the US, is rumored to be tapped as Hsia’s replacement. Shen was considered an instrumental player in Taiwan’s long-term negotiations with the WHO on the country’s participation in the body, even though he left Geneva before Taiwan was handed observer satatus at the World Health Assembly in May.
In other developments, Vice Premier Paul Chiu (邱正雄) yesterday denied he signed off on the controversial document.
“I knew nothing about MOFA’s decision, I was not involved in the decision-making process,” Chiu said.
The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported yesterday that the decision to decline foreign aid was made at a meeting of the Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC).
Chiu doubles as the chairman of the Executive Yuan’s National Disaster Prevention and Protection Commission, which supervises the CEOC.
Chiu denied the report, saying he learned from Chang Chih-yu (張志宇), the head of the Executive Yuan’s National Security Office, that it was National Fire Administration (NFA) Director-General Huang Chi-min (黃季敏) who said there was “no need for foreign aid at the moment.” Huang claimed that the NFA was not consulted.
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