Retired army major general Ni Pang-chen (倪邦臣) and retired navy captain Cheng Kuo-feng (程國峰) are to depart for the US today to establish a mission for the Veterans Affairs Council (VAC) that would oversee veterans’ affairs exchanges between the two countries.
Ni has experience abroad, and is proficient in Spanish and English, the council said, adding that Cheng is also proficient in English, with a well-rounded military service in the navy.
Both have passed the American Institute in Taiwan’s interview as well as English proficiency tests, it added.
VAC Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) has said that the short-term goal of the mission would be to promote people-to-people diplomacy, while the mid-term goal would be to improve substantial exchanges between the veterans’ associations in Taiwan and the US.
The long-term goal would be to establish official communication with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, with the expectation that the mission would serve as a channel for track two diplomacy, he said.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Nov. 26 announced that the council would establish a mission in the US.
“Veterans’ affairs is one area in which Taiwan and the US have enjoyed particularly close cooperation over the past few years,” she said at the time, adding that the official base in Washington would “help us better coordinate and expand their exchanges in health insurance, quality healthcare, employment assistance and long-term care for veterans.”
Lee Che-chuan (李哲全), a researcher at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, has said that as the council has a relatively low profile, it could, through the mission, assist from the sidelines in reforming the nation’s reserve forces.
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