Trade promotion chief said to be new envoy to Singapore

The Presidential Office would not comment on a local media report Thursday that a new envoy to Singapore has been selected, saying only that the appointment will be announced after it is finalized.

"It remains now in the planning stages and an announcement will be made when the arrangement is settled," said Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (???) in response to the report that Francis Liang (???), chairman of the government-funded Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) will assume the post.

The appointment of a new envoy has not been without glitches since the new government was inaugurated May 20. Taiwan does not have diplomatic relations with Singapore, but the two sides maintain close unofficial ties.

The 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 drink-driving violation in Taipei.

The media reported in early September that former Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (???), who serves as the director of the New Southbound Policy Office under the Presidential Office, would be assigned to the position.

Weeks later in mid October, after a lack of progress on the reported appointment, Foreign Minister David Lee (???) said that Huang was "not on the list of candidates."

On Thursday, Apple Daily put forward another name -- Francis Huang -- who was deputy economics minister in 2012-2014. An announcement is expected this week, the paper said.

The Presidential Office neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying only that an appointment will be announced when it has been decided.

The post of Taiwan's envoy to Singapore has been vacant since May 19, when the resignation of Jacob Chang (???) from the position was approved by the outgoing Kuomintang administration. The career diplomat and former deputy representative to Washington was in Singapore for one year.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel