China’s former U.N. envoy joins Taiwan Affairs Office as No.2

Earlier Hong Kong media reports had Liu Jieyi take the top position straightaway

Liu Jieyi at the Security Council. (By Associated Press)

Liu Jieyi at the U.N. with U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi (劉結一), has been appointed vice chairman of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO, 國台辦), the Chinese government’s body in charge of relations with Taiwan, reports said Wednesday.

Last month, Hong Kong media reported that Liu, 59, was likely to succeed the current chief of the TAO, Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).

Liu’s new position as the body’s new No.2 only became known because of the appearance of his name as first vice chairman on the TAO website, the Central News Agency reported.

Liu, who was born in Beijing, spent most of his career with China’s diplomatic service, where he started as a translator at China’s office with the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1981. He has served as permanent ambassador to the U.N. in New York since 2013.

Reports noted that Liu was not selected as a delegate to the Communist Party’s 19th Congress, which starts in Beijing next week, while Zhang did attend the 18th Congress five years ago.

If Liu moves up to head the TAO, he will not be able to attend key party meetings, the CNA report noted.

The TAO’s Taiwanese counterpart is the Mainland Affairs Council (陸委會), currently chaired by Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月).