Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) will serve concurrently as deputy head of the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), the council said yesterday.
Chang will fill the position left vacant by Straits Exchange Foundation vice chairman and secretary-general Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉), who served his last day on Wednesday, the council said.
The council and Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) established a communication platform last year, paving the way for a meeting later this month between their respective chiefs, Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).
Chang has a major role in coordinating the details of the planned meeting, the Chinese-language United Evening News reported yesterday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter.
After Chang assumes the post of SEF vice chairman and secretary-general, he is expected to integrate the two main cross-strait communication channels — between the SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and between the council and TAO, according to the report.
Since Kao tendered his resignation last month, speculation about his successor has been rife, with Chang tipped as the top candidate.
Since Chang will be holding two positions, Straits Exchange Foundation Deputy Secretary-General Maa Shaw-chang (馬紹章) will be promoted to deputy chairman to help share the workload, the council said.
Chang, who has been working at the council since 2012, formerly served in the National Security Council.
He joined the People First Party in 2000 and worked closely with its chairman, James Soong (宋楚瑜), serving as director of the party’s policy center.
In 2005, Chang arranged a meeting between Soong and former Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), then-general secretary of Chinese Communist Party, after communicating with then-TAO chief Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).
Chang’s first task upon assuming the SEF post will be to prepare for the 10th round of cross-strait talks, the United Evening News reported.