Thu, Oct 05, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Vice premier steps up to replace Tang

STEPPING DOWN The premier, who formally left office yesterday, said that he had `fought a good fight,' and although he modestly called himself a `deserter,' he is leaving with only good memories

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former premier Tang Fei, right, along with the new Premier Chang Chung-hsiung and other Cabinet members, assemble to take a "graduation picture" yesterday at the Executive Yuan.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Presidential Office yesterday named Vice Premier Chang Chung-hsiung (張俊雄) as the new premier and former vice premier Yu Shyi-kun as the new secretary-general to the president.

Chang immediately took office and held his first weekly Cabinet meeting, where outgoing Premier Tang Fei (唐飛) was also in attendance to bid farewell to Cabinet members.

Chang said that the Cabinet reshuffle triggered by Tang's resignation would be small and announced no later than today in order to maintain political stability.

The new premier yesterday confirmed, however, that Minister of National Defense Wu Shih-wen (伍世文) would stay on and that Minister of Finance Shea Jia-dong (許嘉棟) and the director-general of the Government Information Office Chung Chin (鍾琴) would go.

Su Tzen-ping (蘇正平), chief editorial writer of the Taiwan Daily (台灣日報), is to take Chung Chin's place at the GIO.

Sources in the Cabinet revealed that Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) and central bank governor Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南) had been offered the job of vice premier, but both declined.

In addition, deputy secretary general of the National Security Council (NSC, 國安會) Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), is to be the Cabinet secretary-general, replacing Wea Chi-lin (魏啟林).

Editor in chief of the Taipei Times Antonio Chiang (司馬文武) will replace Chiou as the new deputy secretary-general of the NSC.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development Chen Po-chih (陳博志) insisted on resigning yesterday. Most of the Cabinet reshuffle so far has been limited to economic and finance ministers.

"New appointments of Cabinet members will be based on their professionalism instead of their party affiliation," Chang said at a press conference after yesterday's Cabinet meeting, adding that he would fulfill the president's ideal of "government for all the people" (全民政府).

In addition, Chang set goals to initiate the so-called "Chen-Chang administration" -- essentially a minority government. "I hereby proclaim that political stability and economic development will be the Cabinet's top administrative priorities," Chang said, adding that he felt cautious and apprehensive after he was informed about his appointment, which was given on short notice.

"However, I will put all the Cabinet's effort into reinforcing coordination among the Cabinet, the legislature and opposition parties, as well as strengthening cooperation among parties," Chang said.

Chang said that the 2001 national spending plan, which was returned to the Cabinet by the legislature yesterday, would be modified and submitted again as soon as possible.

Expressing his gratitude for Tang's contribution during the past four months, Chang said, "Tang has brought peace and stability to the country [安邦定國]."

Tang yesterday morning expressed his sorrow at leaving the Cabinet and modestly called himself a "deserter" (逃兵). But he insisted he had "no regrets."

"I've fought a good fight. I have finished my course and I'm left with only good memories," he said.

During yesterday's Cabinet meeting, the controversy over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant was put on the agenda for discussion, but Chang postponed it.

However, according to DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Chang is unlikely to announce the continuation of the plant's construction since he is a DPP member.

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