Taiwan economic minister submits resignation over gas blast: Ministry

TAIPEI - Taiwan's Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch submitted his resignation on Thursday over an Aug. 1 gas explosion that killed 25 people, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement.

The series of blasts caused by a gas leak in Taiwan's second city of Kaohsiung injured 267 people. The explosions gutted a district in the port city packed with shops and apartment buildings.

It was not clear if Chang's resignation had been accepted and an official in the office of the spokesman for the cabinet, the Executive Yuan, declined to comment.

Soon after the blast, Chang told reporters initial assessments suggested it had been caused by a leak of propylene, a material used in the production of plastics and fabrics.

Authorities have been in dispute over compensation for the blast and the costs of reconstruction. "I feel if I step aside, hopefully it will ease the political gridlock," Chang said in a statement issued by the ministry.