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Legislator Hsu to be Cabinet spokesman

According to the Presidential Office, Tung will serve as National Security Council advisor.

Tung is an expert on cross-strait affairs and trade and economic issues, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang said.

He had also served as deputy mainland affairs minister, Huang said, adding that Tung’s expertise will serve the country well in his new post as national security advisor.

National Taiwan University Hospital physician Chiu Tai-yuan will assume the Legislative Yuan post left vacant by Hsu.

Hsu is a former lawyer, teacher and Taipei City councilor. He ran on the DPP’s ticket as legislator-at-large for his second term in the Legislative Yuan this year. Hsu became a political pundit on television talk shows after his term in the 6th Legislative Yuan ended.

Polarized Responses

While DPP legislators have expressed approval of Hsu’s appointment, Kuomintang Culture and Communications Committee Deputy Director Hung Meng-kai slammed the government for attempting to evade public scrutiny by carrying out the personnel reshuffle over the holidays and during disaster relief efforts.

The Tsai administration still does not understand the function of a government spokesperson, he said, commenting on Hsu’s appointment.

“It’s not to debate with the people, or to twist logic and words, but to illustrate and explain the government’s policies clearly,” Hung said.

Meanwhile, DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung praised the appointment, calling Hsu a “very learned person” and said that he would handle his responsibilities well, the Central News Agency reported.

DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu also said that he had hopes to see Hsu serve as a “bridge” between the government and the public, citing the DPP lawmaker’s understanding of public opinion and the media.

Shortest Serving Spokesman?

This rearrangement will make Tung the shortest-serving spokesperson since the Cabinet spokesperson role was made into a full-time position in 2012. Before May 20, 2012, staff serving as Cabinet spokesperson concurrently served as the Executive Yuan’s Government Information Office minister.

Within 10 days of taking office, Tung made headlines by telling reporters covering Executive Yuan news that he would not reply to individual media questions to avoid being partial to any one media organization and to maintain his quality of life.

He recently took to Facebook, saying that one media outlet had twisted his words, which he said led to widespread misunderstanding.

In the aftermath of July’s U.N. Permanent Court of Arbitration verdict over the disputed South China Sea, Tung went under fire for saying that allowing anyone to visit Taiping Island would erode Taiwan’s sovereignty.