Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) was mentioned by political figures and media yesterday as the likely candidate to head the National Security Council (NSC), amid rumors of an upcoming Cabinet reshuffle.
King was tipped to take up the job in June, replacing NSC Secretary-General Jason Yuan (袁健生), who is said to be having health issues.
The speculations started after King reportedly had a private conversation on the sidelines of a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee on Monday with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) about Yuan’s health.
It was reported that King explained to Chiu that he returned to Taiwan early last month to establish a communication platform between Taiwan and the US.
“[NSC Secretary-General Jason] Yuan is not in good health and as a result no progress was made on the program. That was why I had to come back to Taiwan to handle it,” King was quoted by media as saying to Chiu.
However, Chiu yesterday denied the reports.
“King did not make any complaints about Yuan’s health… Some of the media reports were not true,” Chiu said, but she refused to reveal details of her conversation with King.
King tried to clarify the matter yesterday when asked about the alleged conversation by media.
“I only spoke to Chiu for about one minute. Also, how could I have made such critical remarks about the NSC secretary-general to a DPP legislator?” King said.
Speculation has become rife in political circles about a Cabinet reshuffle, either prior to or just after the Lunar New Year holidays. King replacing Yuan in the NSC post was one of the likely changes mentioned, along with rumors of King taking up the post of vice premier.
Other speculation about likely ministerial changes in a Cabinet reshuffle centered around Environmental Protection Administration Minister Stephen Sheng (沈世宏), Hakka Affairs Council Minister Huang Yu-cheng (黃玉振), Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和), Minister of the Interior Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源) and Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文).
Additional reporting by Su Fang-ho, Yang Fu-yi and Lo Tien-bin