Taiwan's military confirmed Friday that Army Commander Gen. Lee Hsiang-chou has applied for early retirement following the death of a young soldier who died last month following severe punishment for carrying a camera-equipped phone onto his base.
Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. David Lo told a press conference Friday afternoon that Lee has applied for early retirement but it has yet to be approved by Defense Minister Yen Ming.
The death of 24-year-old army conscript Hung Chung-chiu has cost the job of former Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu, who resigned 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 Tuesday night over plagiarism, becoming the shortest-serving defense minister since 2008.
Lee himself was reprimanded by the ministry over the case. Analysts see his desire to retire early as his disappointment over infighting in the military.
The ministry, however, has dismissed speculation that infighting was the cause for the personnel change.