Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) yesterday announced that he would resign next week because of health concerns and to pursue other career plans.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General Lin Join-sane (林中森) will take over his position.
Chiang, 79, said he first offered his resignation to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on May 18 at the launch ceremony of the new SEF building in Taipei and urged the president to appoint someone as soon as possible.
Chiang added that he decided to announce his resignation this time before receiving an official confirmation from the Presidential Office because the SEF is holding a board meeting today.
“Because of my age, health and career plans, I decided to offer my resignation and hand over the important duty of managing cross-strait affairs to other cross-strait experts,” he said yesterday in an impromptu press conference at the SEF.
Chiang thanked Ma for trusting him with the position, while dismissing accusations that he and his family have close business ties in China.
“I hope my resignation will make all groundless accusations against me and my family members disappear as well,” he said.
The Presidential Office later said Ma had approved Chiang’s resignation and Lin would take over as SEF chairman.
SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) also offered his resignation yesterday.
During his term, Chiang has presided over eight rounds of cross-strait negotiations with his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), since 2008, with the two sides signing 18 agreements and the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).
Chiang’s resignation was just the start of changes in the Ma administration’s cross-strait affairs personnel. The Presidential Office confirmed later yesterday that Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) had been appointed representative to the WTO. National Security Council adviser Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) will take over as MAC chairman.
Wang, 49, is one of Ma’s top aides, having served as a spokesman for the Presidential Office and was involved in policymaking in Ma’s administration.
Commenting on the appointment, Wang said he would continue to promote cross-strait relations and seek to convey the government’s cross-strait policies in a clear and accurate manner.
Lai said she would take advantage of her four years of experience at the MAC to promote the nation’s global participation at the WTO, based on the success of the Ma administration’s cross-strait policies.
The personnel changes will take effect later this month.