President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday appointed Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman David Lee (李大維) as the new Presidential Office secretary-general, as she warned the Cabinet against damaging the public’s trust in the government.
Lee replaces Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), who resigned on Sunday, after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case.
Su Jia-chyuan said that he was worried it could negatively affect Tsai’s presidency.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Su Chen-ching is accused of taking bribes from businessman Lee Heng-lung (李恆隆) to lobby for a legal amendment.
Lee Heng-lung has been engaged in a legal fight with Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) over ownership of the Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain since the early 2000s.
Prosecutors suspect that Su Chen-ching and others had been accepting bribes since 2013 to lobby for a retroactive amendment to the Company Act (公司法) clauses on capital increases, which would give Lee Heng-lung’s company legal grounds to regain control of Pacific Sogo.
David Lee, who was the National Security Council secretary-general until he was appointed to head the SEF in May, is an “important partner” in the nation’s politics, Tsai said.
The president thanked Lee for accepting the reassignment on such short notice and expressed confidence in his ability to adjust to the new position.
Tsai warned legislators across party lines against taking bribes, saying that “the goal of engaging in politics is not to seek personal gain, but to work for the betterment of Taiwan.”
Tsai said she understood Su Jia-chyuan’s decision to resign and that she respected it.
The DPP would discuss with the Executive Yuan the best way to proceed with penalties for the legislators implicated in the case, she said.
Despite pressure on the party over the case, it would handle the issue with professionalism, she said.
If the implicated are found guilty, they would be punished in accordance with the law, with no regard to the fact they are members of the ruling party, she said.
“However, even if they are not guilty according to the law, that does not mean the case would not impact the public’s impression of the government, or harm the public’s trust,” she said, adding that Cabinet members should be vigilant in their actions, and hold themselves to higher standards.
David Lee’s first task in his new post at the Presidential Office would be to organize a state funeral for former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), Tsai said.
Additional reporting by CNA
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
ESPIONAGE CHARGE: A TAO spokesperson said that the rights of Shih Cheng-ping were ‘fully safeguarded’ during the hearing, which handed him four years in prison China sentenced Shih Cheng-ping (施正屏), a former National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) professor, to four years in jail for espionage, officials said yesterday. The ruling came a month after Shih made a televised “confession” on state media. Shih, who is also a former chief economist for Chinese conglomerate Huaxia Group (華夏集團), was found guilty by a Chinese court on Tuesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) told a news briefing. Shih — who vanished after traveling to China in August 2018 — was among Taiwanese who China Central Television (CCTV) last month showed confessing to spying. CCTV often broadcasts suspects admitting to crimes, even