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    Sep 02, 2016

    Ex-minister to be Taipei's S'pore envoy?


    TAIWAN is expected to appoint former foreign minister James Huang as its envoy to Singapore, to replace Antonio Chiang, who could not assume the post after being booked for drink driving in Taipei, the island's media reported.

    Mr Huang, 57, currently heads President Tsai Ing-wen's New Southbound Policy Coordination Office, whose job is to help Taiwan forge closer ties with South-east Asian countries as the island moves away from economic dependence on mainland China.

    The ET Today daily said the choice of Mr Huang is linked to the fact that the command centre for the "New Southbound Policy" in South-east Asia will be located in Singapore.

    Mr Chiang, who resigned from the appointment early last month, was also supposed to be tapped on his network in the region.

    Mr Huang, who was foreign minister from 2006 to 2008, refused to answer whether he was heading to Singapore when he was asked by media on Wednesday night.

    Before Ms Tsai, who heads the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, took office in May, he was the director of its international affairs department.

    He was earlier linked to Singapore in a scandal involving nearly US$30 million (S$41 million) but was cleared of any illegal wrongdoing in 2010.

    The money, deposited by the Taiwan government in a bank in Singapore in September 2006, was supposed to be used by a Singaporean and a Taiwanese-turned-American to induce Papua New Guinea to establish formal ties with Taiwan.

    The two brokers, however, misappropriated the money, causing Mr Huang to resign as foreign minister.

    According to Taiwan's Apple Daily, Ms Tsai needs to name the envoy soon as invitations to the annual reception in Singapore for Taiwan's "national day" next month could not be sent out without the representative's signature.