The National Security Council yesterday issued a statement dismissing a flurry of speculation about the abrupt resignation of National Security Bureau director-general Lee Shying-jow (李翔宙) on Tuesday night.
Some media reports regarding Lee’s resignation were “incorrect,” the council said, adding that “there was no reason other than health issues” leading Lee to resign.
The council said on Tuesday night that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had approved Lee’s resignation after he cited health problems.
Ma appointed Lieutenant General Yang Kuo-chiang (楊國強) as Lee’s successor.
According to the Chinese-language Apple Daily, Lee was diagnosed with stage 3 oropharyngeal cancer in May and has been undergoing treatment that is scheduled to end next month, but it was because Lee did not have intelligence regarding Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) visit to the US in late May that Ma approved his resignation.
The Apple Daily said in a report yesterday that Lee did not stay up to date with media reports to inform Ma and council Secretary-General Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) about what Tsai was doing during what was widely reported as a successful visit to the US.
The Chinese-language United Daily Evening News and online news portal Storm Media both reported that Kao was behind Lee’s resignation.
Kao has been on bad terms with Lee since Kao served as minister of defense, the United Daily Evening News reported.
In 2013, Kao tried to forestall Lee’s promotion to chief of general staff, it said.
Lee was forced by Kao to tender his resignation for health reasons early this month, but Ma at that time wanted Lee to stay, the report said.
The United Daily Evening News reported that Lee did not tender his resignation on his own initiative and was forced to resign by Kao.
The council’s statement said the reports were “groundless.”
Tsai yesterday called on the government to clearly explain the real reason for Lee’s sudden departure.
“I do not know the exact reason Lee resigned, but the government should explain clearly to the public why the bureau’s head has quit,” Tsai said.
“The job of the bureau and the secret service is to defend the nation, not to engage in political spying or collecting information about political parties, triggering injustice in elections or national instability,” she said.
Presidential Office spokesperson Charles Chen (陳以信) said that Tsai should not exploit Lee’s health issue for her own political gain.
The national security system during the Ma administration has never engaged in gathering intelligence on politicians or political parties in the other camps, Chen said.
As chairperson of the leading opposition party and a presidential candidate, Tsai should present evidence when she makes allegations, Chen said.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin
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