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  |   Politics


Taiwan President Tsai appoints new intelligence chief

Joan Huang (Office of the President) / Wikimedia Commons

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen appointed a new intelligence chief as part of a broader reshuffling of the island’s government. The new appointment to the position also comes amidst growing tensions with China, which claims the democratically-governed island as its territory.

On Thursday, the Taiwanese presidential office announced that Tsai had appointed deputy foreign minister Tsai Ming-yen, who served as the island nation’s de facto ambassador to the European Union, to head the National Security Bureau. Tsai Ming-yen will be replacing Chen Ming-tong, who resigned, citing a desire to “rest.” Tsai Ming-yen previously served as an advisor to the Taiwanese defense ministry and the Mainland Affairs Council.

The two share the same family name but are not related.

The office said that Tsai hopes to rely on his expertise in regional security, foreign affairs, and international strategy to assist the national security team in “interpretation and precise decision-making” for the current situation with China and the region. The office added that Tsai hopes that he will “continue to promote the specialized tasks of the intelligence system, and continue to strengthen the governance and innovation of intelligence agencies in the era of democratization.”

Tsai Ming-yen’s appointment follows that of former Taiwanese vice president Chen Chien-jen as the island’s new premier, succeeding Su Tseng-chang on Wednesday. Tsai is set to formally unveil the new members of the cabinet on Friday during a news conference.

The new appointments follow the major losses suffered by the governing Democratic Progressive Party in the November elections.

China claims Taiwan as its territory and increased its military drills near the island in August last year. Taiwan has repeatedly rejected China’s claims over the island.

Earlier this week, Tsai assured Pope Francis that a military conflict with China was not an option. In a copy of her letter to the pontiff released by the presidential office on Monday, Tsai said that only by respecting Taiwan’s sovereignty and the freedom of its people can there be good relations between the island and Beijing.

The Vatican is one of the 14 nations that still maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Tsai said the war in Ukraine has made the world appreciate and value peace, and maintaining regional security was a global consensus.

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