Top Taiwan Diplomat Tipped to Head Tsai’s Pivot South

Top Taiwan Diplomat Tipped to Head Tsai’s Pivot South
Photo Credit: 公視新聞 截圖
What you need to know

The career diplomat could be taking over as chairman of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and lead President Tsai’s New Southbound policy.

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Andrew Hsia (夏立言), a former Mainland Affairs Council minister, may have been tapped by the new administration to take over as chairman of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), local media reported today.

The news was reported by the Chinese-language United Daily News on Tuesday. Hsia has not confirmed whether he has been offered the role.

If Hsia, a career diplomat, does assume the position, he would likely play a crucial role in President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) New Southbound policy, aimed at boosting Taiwan’s economy while reducing its reliance on China. Due to China’s influence, Taiwan faces unique diplomatic difficulties and the semi-official organization TAITRA has an important role in international trade.

Hsia would replace current TAITRA chair Francis Kuo-Hsin Liang (梁國新).

Talk of Hsia’s appointment has surprised commentators, as previous TAITRA chairs have typically had backgrounds in finance and economics.

In addition to his role at the Mainland Affairs Council, Hsia has previously been Taiwan’s representative in India and Indonesia, among other positions. He is rumored to have previously been approached by Tsai to join her cabinet.

In his last few months as minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, Hsia is understood to have played a key role in the meeting in Singapore between then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) last November.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: Olivia Yang