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Premier: Chang remains determined to leave after a talk
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-09 08:40 PM
Economic Minister Chang Chia-juch offered his resignation in a surprise move and has stayed out of touch ever since. On Saturday Premier Jiang Yi-huan attended a training graduation ceremony, saying that he had a half-hour phone conversation with Chang Friday night but failed to persuade Chang to stay.

Jiang said to the media after the ceremony that he had a phone talk with Chang, who said he is out of town and would like to stay alone for a while without being interrupted. Jiang also asked Chang to reconsider his decision during the weekend and conveyed the support from President Ma Ying-jeou.

According to Jiang, Chang felt sorry for his sudden departure and expressed disappointment at Taiwan’s political landscape, particularly with a number of critical economic policies stymied in Legislature during his tenure and being emotionally pained with nasty criticisms against him.

Chang again expressed his determination of leaving through his staffs Saturday evening.

Opposition responses

Following DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai’s disagreement with Chang’s sudden leave and asking him for an apology for the Kaohsiung people Friday, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling kept slamming Chang on a Facebook post the next day. Kuan said that Chang, as a cabinet minister, should not walk away without approval from his hefty responsibility in rebuilding the blasted area in Kaohsiung. Kuan urged Jiang to appoint a new minister at the earliest to take care this mess.

The Kaohsiung City Government last week blamed Chang’s ministry for not properly regulating the pipelines that might have leaked gas. Four Kaohsiung city officials also resigned for failing to share information on pipeline usage after a local media report said the city had lied about its knowledge of underground pipelines. Mayor Chen Chu denied those accusations and said the issue was one of poor internal communications.

Service trade agreement

Chang, a former deputy minister of transportation, has been promoting a plan for the establishment of Free Economic Pilot Zones across Taiwan, currently under legislative review.

He advocates for trade agreements on services and goods with China, with the former now languished in the legislature after a month-long mass student protest and occupation of the Legislative chamber in March. The Ma administration agreed to legalize a cross-strait supervisory scheme before a legislative review of the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement.

In an editorial published by the Wall Street Journal August 5, Taiwan was described as in danger as its major rival South Korea is aggressively working on a free trade agreement with China while Taiwan’s trade pacts with China remaining “in limbo” after the student-led sunflower movement. The story indicated that Taiwan “only hurts itself if it preserves barriers to cross-Strait trade” as China is an integral part of global supply chains and a big market.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Chairman Terry Gou said Chang is needed to helm Taiwan’s economic restructuring and that he should reconsider his resignation. Leaders of Taiwan’s heavyweight industrial and business groups also expressed the hope that Chang can stay on to promote the economic growth.

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