Kaohsiung minister 'determined' to resign, says aide

Kaohsiung minister 'determined' to resign, says aide
Taiwan's Premier Jiang Yi-huah (C) is escorted by the security staff.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch is determined to resign, his aide reportedly said yesterday, shortly after Premier Jiang Yi-huah publicly disclosed that he had asked him to reconsider the decision.

Chang's aide said at around noon that the minister is "determined" to leave and "will not change his decision," according to the United Evening News.

The premier had revealed earlier in the morning that the economics minister had called him on Friday night and they talked for half an hour over the phone. Jiang said he failed to get Chang to change his mind.

Jiang said he still asked Chang to rethink his decision and they would talk again on Saturday night or on Sunday.

It was not clear whether the pair would talk again over the resignation after the statement by Chang's aide.

Chang tendered his resignation in the wake of the deadly gas explosions in Kaohsiung. The opposition camp has criticised him for failing to oversee the underground gas pipelines, and the minister apparently cannot swallow what he thinks is unfair criticism.

Chang has been taking a leave of absence since submitting his resignation, and has not made any public appearances since. His aide said the minister is currently not in Taipei.

The premier said the economics minister is deeply disappointed with the present political situation in Taiwan where important bills have been blocked and government officials constantly humiliated.

It is a "painful" situation for those who want to do things for the country, Jiang cited Chang saying.

Jiang said he had asked Chang to tolerate the humiliation and stay put for the sake of the country. As a Cabinet minister, he should give priority to public interests, said Jiang.

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