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Taiwan appoints new defense minister


Taiwan's Chief of General Staff Gen. Yen Ming was appointed the island's new defense minister on Wednesday, a day after the administration's first civilian head resigned over plagiarism.

The ministry dismissed speculation Wednesday that infighting was the cause for the personnel change.

The Executive Yuan said in a statement Wednesday that the main tasks of Yen's new job are to oversee a smooth transition from military jurisdiction to civil jurisdiction after the legislature on Tuesday passed legal revisions that will transfer jurisdiction of all military criminal cases to the civilian judiciary during peacetime.

Another important task is to restore public confidence in the military following the death of a young soldier who died last month following severe punishment for carrying a camera-equipped phone onto his base.

The death of the 24-year-old army conscript Hung Chung-chiu cost the job of former Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu, who resigned on July 29.

Andrew Yang, who replaced Kao on Aug. 1, was the first civilian to occupy the position since President Ma Ying-jeou was first elected in 2008.

Yang, however, resigned on Tuesday night over plagiarism, becoming the shortest lived defense minister since 2008.

Yang told a late-night news conference Tuesday that sections of an article published under his name, but allegedly written by his assistant in 2007, were taken from other publications without proper citations.

Yang said he felt regret at the personal mistake and that he thought he should be held responsible for "affecting the honor of the military and reputations of the president and the premier."