Taiwan’s former envoy to Singapore, Vanessa Shih (史亞平), has been appointed vice minister of foreign affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said on Saturday evening.
Shih, who served as head of the now-defunct Government Information Office (GIO) prior to being posted in Singapore, will supervise the international communications and European affairs sections at the ministry, Yang said.
Shih’s appointment followed the recent closure of the GIO amid a government plan to streamline administration. Under the reform plan, a portion of the GIO’s operations will be taken over by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in September.
“Her experience and expertise in diplomacy and mass communications should facilitate the integration process,” Yang said.
Shih was promoted because of her “extraordinary performance” in Singapore, including facilitating former Singaporean founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s (李光耀) visit to Taiwan and pushing a bilateral trade pact forward, Yang said.
Taiwan is now in talks with Singapore over a free-trade deal, which is formally known as the Agreement Between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territories of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership.
Shih returned to Taiwan from Singapore earlier this year amid rumors that she offended the Singaporean government by making contact with the country’s opposition party and displaying Taiwan’s national flag at an event.
Shih denied the reports, saying she was summoned by Yang to take on a domestic assignment.