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Premier accepts economics minister's resignation (update)
Central News Agency
2014-08-10 03:38 PM
Taipei, Aug. 10 (CNA) Premier Jiang Yi-huah on Sunday accepted the resignation of Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch, despite his repeated efforts to dissuade Chang from quitting. Premier Jiang has appointed Chang's deputy Duh Tyzz-jiun, who also has offered to resign, to take over as acting minister, Cabinet spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun said. Chang is the highest-ranking official to have quit in the wake of a series of deadly gas explosions in Kaohsiung July 31, which killed at least 30 people and injured 310. The explosions are believed to have been caused by a leaking underground pipe carrying propylene. President Ma Ying-jeou expressed regret over Chang's resignation but said he respected the decision. Ma also acknowledged Chang's contribution to Taiwan government's achievements such as its economic cooperation agreements with Singapore and New Zealand and a service trade pact with China, according to Presidential Office Spokeswoman Ma Wei-kuo. Chang, 64, tendered his resignation last week amid a blame game over the fatal gas blasts in Kaohsiung. Some critics have pointed the finger at Chang's ministry, saying its oversight of petrochemical companies has been poor. In a public statement issued last Thursday, Chang expressed frustration over the country's legislative process, which he said has been hampered by the opposition's efforts to block important economic projects. This puts the country's future in jeopardy, Chang said. Since he took office as economics minter in February 2013, Chang has taken on a number of thorny issues, including massive public opposition to the government efforts to complete the nation's fourth nuclear power plant and to a trade-in-service agreement with China. The government eventually bent under the pressure of huge public protests in March and April, putting on hold the trade pact and shelving the nearly-completed NT$300 billion (US$9.9 billion) nuclear power plant project. (By Hsieh Chia-chen and Scully Hsiao)
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