The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Must Tighten Discipline
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 4, 2011
Summary: Former Representative to Fiji Victor Chin is suspected of having an affair with one Ms. Kurokawa, a secretary at the Japanese Embassy. A Ministry of Foreign Affairs ad hoc group has investigated and found Victor Chin guilty of corruption and administrative negligence, and suspended him, The case will be referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Control Yuan. The conduct of diplomatic personnel may affect national security. That is why this matter must not be taken lightly. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should work hand in hand with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and uncover the facts as soon as possible.
Full Text below:
Former Representative to Fiji Victor Chin is suspected of having an affair with one Ms. Kurokawa, a secretary at the Japanese Embassy. A Ministry of Foreign Affairs ad hoc group has investigated and found Victor Chin guilty of corruption and administrative negligence, and suspended him, The case will be referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Control Yuan. The conduct of diplomatic personnel may affect national security. That is why this matter must not be taken lightly. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should work hand in hand with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and uncover the facts as soon as possible.
When legislators first revealed the affair, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs accepted Victor Chin's explanation and stood behind his claim of innocence. But an investigative team traveled to Fiji and interviewed staffers at the de facto embassy, overseas Chinese, and other witnesses. After gaining access to evidence relating to the case, it learned the situation was not that simple. Security guards at the official residence saw Kurokawa entering and exiting the official residence freely more than once. She was not accompanied by Victor Chin. This violated the security requirements for offices abroad. Female hairs were even found in the bathtub at the official residence. Further confirmation is required, but there is at least physical evidence that a woman stayed overnight.
Chin is believed to have given Kurokawa a pearl necklace, Chin said he bought four necklaces and four designer pens to give to politicians in Fiji. The last necklace however, was not given away. The investigative team found a necklace at the official residence. The weight and design was different from those originally purchased. Some suspect Chin bought it with cash only after legislators broke the news. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has therefore found Chin guilty of corruption. It has suspended Chin and referred the case to the Control Yuan and the Ministry of Justice ICAC for further investigation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs investigators found that Chin may have filed false reimbursement claims for banquets, He may have charged private meals to official accounts. In 2006, Chin began applying for subsidies for family members. Beginning in February of the following year, his wife ceased accompanying him. Yet Chin continued applying for and receiving the subsidies. He applied for and received 44 months worth of subsidies, amounting to over 630,000 NT.
In fact, Chin was previously implicated over a case of red wine. This falsified documents case took place just before Chin was transferred to New Zealand. In order to use up the North American Division's "Foreign Affairs Administrative Expenses," Chin instructed former North American Division Department Chief Yang Ching-hui to spend over 210,000 NT purchasing 36 bottles of red wine. He intended to use them as official gifts, after he was assigned to his new post in New Zealand, Later it was discovered that Chin falsified the vouchers. Chin claimed the funds were used to entertain American and Canadian officials posted to Taiwan.
Some people may consider such personal affairs private matters. But diplomats are involved in matters of state security. These include the establishment and promotion of diplomatic relations with other countries, and the content of negotiations. Therefore diplomats cannot afford to be lax about their personal conduct, Their conduct may have serious consequences.
For example, Mainland China assigned a "Mata Hari" to seduce a Japanese diplomat. They threatened to expose him unless he revealed diplomatic secrets. Eventually the diplomat committed suicide. Luo Hsien-che, an ROC diplomat, became an informant after losing his head over a woman. Former U.S. State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Donald Keyser became obsessed with Chen Nian-chi, an ROC National Security Bureau official assigned to Washington. The affair rocked Taipei/Washington relations. Keyser was discredited and forced to resign.
Typically men go wrong, first over money, second over sex, or the two together. Diplomats are privy to diplomatic secrets. They may fall prey to "Mata Haris." An extra-marital affair or corruption may leave them susceptible to extortion. This may result in leaks of secret information, damaging to national security. This is why every nation has rigorous loyalty tests and behavior monitoring procedures for high-level personnel with access to secret information. A single individual's weakness or slip up, can jeopardize an entire nation. The price is too high. The risk is too great, Extramarital affairs for diplomats cannot be seen as a purely private matter.
Consider the incident as a whole. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was clearly lax in its oversight procedures. It had too much faith in Chin's one sided account. Now the first priority is to conduct a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the matter, All doubts must be allayed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must dispatch investigators to Fiji. It must work with Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to uncover the truth. If Victor Chin and Aiko Kurokawa did not have an affair, they must be cleared of such suspicions.
Victor Chin has been implicated in several scandals. These scandals Involve a pearl necklace, red wine, banquets, telephone charges, and subsidies to family members. This shows that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has long been negligent in its auditing procedures. Gifts to foreign dignitaries or their wives enable us to build relationships with them, One can of course come back later and request reimbursement. Usually such gifts are purchased in bulk. Considerable time may elapse before one needs to an appropriate gift for another foreign dignitary, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must trust diplomatic personnel to deal with such matters on their own. But after all, this is hard-earned taxpayer money, The auditing process must not become a mere formality, Otherwise it will be impossible to prevent the private use of public funds. This is corruption, and inexcusable.
The Taipei District Prosecutor's Office has recently investigated the case. The result has been a rare example of concurrent investigations by the Control Yuan, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, and the Bureau of Investigation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is cooperating with the investigation to uncover the truth, But it must also take the opportunity to review its audit oversight mechanisms, It must close the holes as soon as possible, It must strengthen internal discipline, in order to avoid similar incidents.