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Veteran diplomat Hu named Taiwan's top national security aide

ROC Central News Agency

2010/02/11 19:51:13

Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou wasted no time to appoint his new top national security advisor as Hu Wei-chen was selected to fill the void left by Su Chi, who resigned as the Secretary General of the National Security Council Thursday.

Hu Wei-chen, 63, will assume the post Feb. 23 right after the nine-day lunar New Year break, replacing Su Chi, who resigned, citing health concerns and family reasons, the Presidential Office said in a press release.

Hu is a seasoned veteran on foreign affairs and national security matters and has a military background.

His father Hu Tsung-nan was a high-ranking general as well as a close confidant of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in the Kuomintang (KMT) government during World War II and the Chinese civil war in the 1950s.

His background and familiarity with military affairs will help Hu in his post at the NSC, said Justin Chou, a ruling KMT legislator.

Hu started his career as a diplomat, serving as Director General of the Department of Protocol in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was posted in Chicago and other cities in the United States. Later he served as Taiwan's representative to Germany and Singapore.

He was also familiar with national security affairs, serving as the deputy chief of the National Security Bureau under former Presidents Lee Teng-hui and deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council under former President Chen Shui-bian's administration.

The timing of Su's resignation is intriguing, said Lo Chih-cheng, a political scientist at Soochow University. Lo said he believes there have been internal and external pressures -- from the U.S. or China -- that forced Su to step down.

Choosing to announce the resignation right before the lunar New Year break, Lo said, is a tactic to avoid the resignation turning into a hot topic in the media during the nine-day break.

Legislator Chou said that while it is a pity to see Su go, Hu's appointment is a correct move. He praised Hu as "a man of integrity and decency" and expected his "brilliant performance" at the NSC.

"With his military background and expertise in foreign affairs and national security, he will do a good job, " Chou said.

As Taiwan's representative to Singapore, he criticized his own government in 2007 when then President Chen attempted to "de-Sinicize" Taiwan and to play down the legacy of Chiang. Hu was forced to resign over the ensuing controversy.

Hu is expected to pick up where Su left off in terms of national security policy and he alone will not be able to make dramatic changes, which means the policy of the Ma administration will remain unchanged, Lo said. (By Chris Wang) enditem/cs

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