Taiwan's MOFA, in Need of Reform: Is Life on the Beach that Boring?

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Friday July 29, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

At a time when Taiwan deeply needs skilled diplomats to help make its place in the world, it appears that MOFA's members are either asleep at the wheel as Taiwan's sovereignty is marginalized or they are turning into scam artists. The latest case appears to be the former representative to Fiji, Victor Chin.

Fiji could certainly be considered a cushy assignment; mild climate, good beaches and a population of under one million. Ironically MOFA has three representatives there, perhaps that was the problem, not enough for them to do, though if they were skilled and creative, one is sure they could find ways to help Taiwan be known.

Enter Victor Chin, who appeared to be more interested in developing a love affair with a Japanese woman than carrying out duties. This case had added ironies. Chin has a wife and family and was claiming the family allowance for them living in Fiji, though his family was in Taiwan. So what was he doing with that extra money? It helped subsidize his love interest even to the extent that he was making special layovers in Japan on trips to Fiji. Isn't Fiji in the opposite direction? This was after his love interest was re-assigned back to Japan, perhaps the Japanese knew something before MOFA did.

In the past, Chin also used MOFA expense accounts to buy gifts for his love. This raises the question of how far back Chin's "diplomatic service" extends for a position where he already draws twice the salary of normal government officials.

Perhaps one of the reasons that MOFA appears to be rudderless is that they are not getting good instructions or directions from President Ma Ying-jeou as to what is their purpose. Taiwan's whole identity as a nation has suffered under Ma, as his pro-China leanings create more and more ambiguity as to how MOFA should be helping Taiwan define its national sovereignty.