The US has expressed approval over the appointment of King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) — a close aide of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — as Taiwan’s next representative to the US, Jason Yuan (袁健生), the incumbent representative, said on Friday.
“The US fully understands and has said it is happy to see King’s appointment,” Yuan said.
King, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) secretary-general who currently serves as a top adviser to the KMT’s International Affairs Department, was designated as Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US earlier in the week.
Yuan is to take up the position of secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC) after incumbent NSC Secretary-General Hu Wei-jen (胡為真) resigned from the post to take a position as a senior adviser to the Presidential Office.
The personnel changes were not decided suddenly, Yuan said, adding they were the result of many discussions between Taiwan and the US.
“They were by no means accidental decisions,” Yuan said.
Responding to criticism that the announcement of personnel changes had come before the US gave its consent and was therefore a “big diplomatic blunder,” Yuan said the announcement actually took place in the wake of full communication with Washington.
Taiwan and the US had a tacit agreement on King’s appointment and the new envoy was announced in conjunction with changes to NSC personnel after careful consideration, Yuan said.
Douglas Paal, a former de facto US ambassador to Taiwan who is now vice president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that people in Washington have become familiar with King through his work in Taiwan and from his time at the Brookings Institution.