Representative to Indonesia Andrew Hsia (夏立言) is encouraging his son to return home to serve his compulsory term of military service, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.
The ministry said that when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) spoke with Hsia before naming him to be deputy minister of national defense last month, Hsia mentioned that his son, C.S. Hsia (夏之璿), had not performed his military service.
Ma asked him to resolve the problem and Andrew Hsia was encouraging his son, who is working in the US, to return to Taiwan for 11 months of military service, the ministry said.
The ministry’s comments came one day after media reports said the younger Hsia, who is 32, has been working in the US for years and had dodged his military service, and that his father was not qualified to be deputy defense minister as a result.
Ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) quoted Andrew Hsia as saying that because he had been stationed overseas for many years, his son had grown up abroad.
The elder Hsia recognizes the importance of a citizen completing his compulsory military service, and he encouraged his son to serve, the general said.
Andrew Hsia rejected the media report that Ma had told him that his son’s status would not be a problem to him taking up the ministry post, and that he had said Ma asked him to resolve the problem, according to Lo.
Since his son has a family and a career in the US, Andrew Hsia said he hoped his son could take his own time to make a decision, but that he would continue to try do persuade him to to his duty.
A career diplomat since 1982, Andew Hsia resigned as deputy minister of foreign affairs in August 2009 after a cable sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructing foreign missions to decline all forms of foreign aid in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot was disclosed by a newspaper, sparking a public backlash.
In his new defense ministry job, he will mainly be in charge of policy and communicating with the US about arms procurement.
In related news, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) denied a media report that Vice Minister Vanessa Shih (史亞平) had been chosen to be the next representative to Indonesia.
Lin said the report — carried by recently launched Stormmedia Web site — was “completely wrong.”
The report said that Shih had been handpicked by Ma for the Indonesia post, a sign that she could one day become the nation’s first female foreign minister.
Lin said the Indonesian post had not been filled yet
Shih also denied the report.
“Designation of [Andrew Hsia’s] successor is still under Minister Lin’s consideration. I am sure the matter has nothing to do with me,” she said.