Sun, Sep 16, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Minister offers help in letter to diplomatic staff

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu is pictured on Aug. 21.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Friday pledged to pay more attention to the psychological health of ministry officials, after the nation’s envoy to Osaka committed suicide amid criticism over his office’s assistance to Taiwanese tourists in need.

In an open letter to ministry officials at home and abroad sent on Friday and provided to reporters yesterday, Wu said that he was heartbroken over the passing of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Osaka branch director-general Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠).

“Su left behind his wife and children… I blame myself for the break-up of his family due to work, and the pressure he faced from within and from outside,” Wu wrote in the letter. “I am writing this letter to tell you that the ministry needs to make improvements and should take better care of your physical and psychological health, as well as your family life.”

Su, who assumed leadership of the Osaka office in July, took his own life early on Friday at his residence in Osaka, Japan, about a week after his office came under fire for a staff member’s alleged refusal last week to help a Taiwanese tourist stranded in Osaka in the wake of Typhoon Jebi find accommodation.

Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) on Friday reported that a note left by Su suggested that he had been in pain because of overwhelming public criticism over his office’s handling of Taiwanese tourists stranded in the area due to Jebi and the ensuing closure of Osaka’s Kansai International Airport.

Wu said that although diplomacy is Taiwan’s toughest battle, the nation’s diplomats have worked in all corners of the globe to ensure that the 23 million Taiwanese will not be left alone or forgotten by the world.

They often have to work long hours at their offices, answering telephone calls from overseas, writing diplomatic cables and arranging the itineraries of visiting foreign dignitaries, Wu said, adding that they give their best, even though their work is often overlooked, because they know that the nation’s diplomatic work rests on their shoulders.

“When we are faced with challenges from all over the world, we must not forget that the ministry is one big family, and we should show concern and support for each other,” Wu said, calling on ministry officials to stay brave and united as they work toward their common goals.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday wrote on Facebook and Instagram that the burden shouldered by diplomatic personnel is very heavy.

“Their contributions and efforts represent the hope of 23 million people in Taiwan to connect with the international community,” Tsai wrote, adding: “Thank you.”

Additional reporting by CNA

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