The Presidential Office and the Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday remained silent amid reports that Army Commander General Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) is to be appointed as the military’s chief of the general staff.
A report by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) yesterday said that Chiu is to succeed Chief of the General Staff Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發), who is to retire on Thursday next week.
As Yen and Chiu are both from the army, such a decision would break with the tradition of selecting the head of the general staff selection from the army, navy and air force on a rotational basis.
Chiu was reportedly favored for his comprehensive experience, strict leadership style and good communication with President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration.
However, his age — along with his army background — was considered a drawback compared with a candidate like Deputy Minister of National Defense Admiral Lee Hsi-ming (李喜明), the report said.
If appointed, Chiu, 63, would have to resign in a couple of years given the military’s age limits.
However, Lee, who is from the navy, was considered unsuitable for the post because of a lack of seniority, the report said, adding that there is no admiral who has the preferred seniority to take on the job.
Ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said the ministry refused to comment on any unapproved appointment or media speculation.
“Relevant authorities will make an announcement after the appointment of the chief of the general staff and other military personnel is made,” Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said.
Chiu was appointed army commander in January last year and was promoted to the rank of general in September 2012. He had also served as deputy minister of national defense, National Defense Academy president and Reserve Command commander.
The impending appointment would be the most important personnel change in the military by Tsai’s administration since the appointment of Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) on May 20.
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