TAIPEI - The Ministry of National Defence (MND) yesterday confirmed that the former head of Taiwan's Defence Mission in the United States had failed to pass a required polygraph test.
Military spokesman Luo Shou-he said the MND is still trying to determine the reasons for Major General Li Hsien-Sheng failure to pass the test.
However, Luo stressed that the MND's decision to replace Li with his successor, Major General Yang Ta-wei , has nothing to do with the failed test.
Luo noted that the MND decided to make the reshuffle because Li has already served the required two-year-tenure in the Defence Mission at Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, the de facto R.O.C. embassy in the US in the absence of official ties.
Luo's comment came after a local newspaper yesterday said Li was replaced because he failed to pass the required polygraph test earlier this year.
The Chinese-language United Evening News said Li returned to Taiwan this March to undergo a polygraph test, a requirement and regular test imposed upon all military personnel posted overseas for security reasons to check if they have secret contacts with foreign spies.
Li, however, failed the test three times. The MND later decided to have Li stay in Taipei for further clarifications instead of returning to his duties in Washington.
Li's family, however, continued to stay in Washington and did not return to Taipei with the general, the newspaper said.
Asked to comment, the MND spokesman yesterday stressed that there can be dozens of reasons for a person to fail a polygraph test.
Different physical or physiological conditions could affect the result of polygraph test, Luo noted.
Taking certain kinds of medicine could also affect the test results, he added.
Luo said Li's family has requested to continue to stay in the US despite the fact that the general has been reassigned. The MND respects Li's family's decision, he added.
No Violation: Li
Meanwhile, Li yesterday told the United Evening News that he is willing to undergo an MND probe because he did not violate any laws during his tenure as the head of R.O.C.'s Defence Mission in the US
He stressed that he is not the first person to have failed the polygraph test. But he understands the sensitivity of the issue and is willing to cooperate with the military's investigation into the case.