Premier refuses to replace Minister Francisco Ou

Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers continued to focus on the green card status of Cabinet members in Legislature yesterday, and demanded Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) replaces Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊). Premier Liu refused to replace Ou, believing that he deserves a second chance to continue his job as a foreign affairs minister.
Premier Liu told lawmakers that he had always considered that one's green card status had nothing to do with one's allegiance to the country. Liu added that since Ou had long-since apologized to the general public, he should not have to lose his position as foreign affairs minister.
Premier Liu also told local media yesterday that no Cabinet member has yet been found to hold dual nationalities, and two Cabinet members possessed foreign residency.
Liu said the next wave of inspection would focus on overseas representatives' foreign residency status and nationality.
According to Liu, the two government officials with foreign residencies are Sports Affairs Council Chairperson Tai Hsia-ling and Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission Deputy Minister Hsu Chen-jung. Tai had a Canadian residency and Hsu had a Philippine residency.
In the Legislature's full-floor meeting yesterday, around 10 DPP lawmakers occupied the speech platform and held placards to protest Premier Liu's recent comments over the green card issue.
DPP lawmakers questioned Liu's recent remarks in which he connected a person's international knowledge with his or her green card status, and also that a government official would be making a sacrifice by renouncing their green card.
During the interpellation with Premier Liu, DPP lawmakers Huang Sue-ying, Lin Shu-fen and Tien Chiu-chin questioned Liu whether Minister Ou had trampled upon the country's dignity as he had applied for U.S. residency while stationed on foreign soil as an ambassador for Taiwan. They also asked whether Liu had used a high enough moral standard to inspect the conduct of his Cabinet members.
Premier Liu said he did feel it was improper for Minister Ou to apply for foreign residency during his term as an ambassador. However, Premier Liu considered Ou's offense was not serious enough to have him leave his post.
DPP lawmaker Huang went on to say that Ou had apparently lied to the government, not telling them of his application for a U.S. green card and therefore Ou's loyalty to this country was questionable.
Premier Liu replied to Hunag's question, saying residency had nothing to do with loyalty, but citizenship did. Since Ou had apologized for his mistake over the green card problem, Premier Liu decided to give Ou another chance and let him continue in his position as foreign affairs minister.
Liu said that while the existing law only forbids public servants from holding foreign citizenship, but does not prohibit them from holding permanent residency in another country, he has "adopted a higher standard" by requiring Cabinet members to relinquish any permanent resident status they have in a foreign country.

Updated : 2021-03-02 22:50 GMT+08:00