Former foreign minister ruled out as envoy to Singapore (update)

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (???) is "not on the list of candidates" being considered for the job of Taiwan's envoy to Singapore, Foreign Minister David Lee (???) said Tuesday.

Huang was widely reported to be Taiwan's next representative to Singapore but now appears to have been ruled out.

Lee would not respond directly when asked whether the fact that Huang is not a candidate has anything to do with Singapore's position.

"That's a question for the Singaporean side," he told reporters.

Taiwan and Singapore do not have diplomatic relations but have maintained close unofficial ties.

Apple Daily first reported in early September that Huang, who is currently director of the New Southbound Policy Office under the Presidential Office, would be named Taiwan's next representative to Singapore.

The new government had originally named Antonio Chiang (???) to fill the post, but he resigned in August before taking office amid controversy swirling around him for a drunk driving violation in Taipei.

Questions about whether Huang would be able to assume the post and whether the appointment had hit a snag were raised on Sept. 22, when several diplomats set to serve abroad were sworn in, but no new representative to Singapore was among them.

On Tuesday, the Liberty Times suggested that the plan to appoint Huang as representative to Singapore has changed, without offering any explanation what might have been behind the shift.

Citing an unnamed source, the paper said President Tsai Ing-wen (???) on Sept. 13 signed the paperwork for Huang to rejoin the civil service as a grade-12 secretary at the Presidential Office.

But Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (???) dismissed the Liberty Times report as untrue, saying that James Huang has been working in the Presidential Office as a grade-12 secretary since May 20.

The choice of Taiwan's representative to Singapore will be announced as soon as it is decided on, he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Lee told legislators that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs never confirmed media reports that Huang would be named the next representative to Singapore.

He said it will take at least another month before the choice can be announced to the public, but added that the government hopes the new representative will assume office as soon as possible once the appointment is decided on.

According to Lee, the appointment involves a very complicated process, in which the candidate is required to pass a security check and a review by the Ministry of Civil Service and obtain Singapore's approval after he or she is put forward by the premier.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel