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Former Navy vice admiral reportedly tapped to head Taiwan Coast Guard

Personnel change signals Coast Guard’s changing role as country bolsters defenses

(Facebook, Taiwan Coast Guard photo)

(Facebook, Taiwan Coast Guard photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The outgoing head of Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration (CGA) will reportedly be replaced by a former senior Navy official as the maritime security unit takes up a more combat-ready posture.

Chou Mei-wu (周美伍), 62, a retired vice admiral who is currently posted in the U.S. as an officer for Taiwan's National Security Bureau, is said to have been appointed the new director-general of CGA, reported China Times. He will replace Chuang Ching-ta (莊慶達), incumbent Coast Guard chief and deputy minister of the Ocean Affairs Council, who assumed office in October following his predecessor's abrupt resignation.

In addition to his previous position as vice director-general of the NSB, Chuang has served in the Navy in a supervisory capacity and as commander of the 168th fleet.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, China Times said the move represents a shift from the Coast Guard's oceanic conservation and maritime crime prevention to a role as a strategic force that can complement the Navy on defense missions. Chuang appears to be fit for the job considering his military background and experience in U.S.-Taiwan security exchanges.

All vessels now being built for the Coast Guard will be capable of combat if the need arises, according to the report.