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Fri, Sep 14, 2001 - Page 5 News List

Cabinet meeting to go ahead without Chang's attendance

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER AND CNA

With Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) stranded in the US, the Cabinet's weekly meeting, postponed from Wednesday to today, will be chaired by Vice Premier Lai In-jaw (賴英照).

The Cabinet meeting will review bills designed to put into effect some the proposals made at the Economic Development Advisory Conference (經發會).

Those bills include draft revisions to the Financial Holding Company Law, the Labor Standards Law, the Labor Union Law, the Land Tax Law and the Energy Management Law, all of which the Cabinet considers priorities for review and passage during the upcoming legislative session.

Meanwhile, Chang remained stranded in Hawaii after visiting Taiwan's Caribbean allies.

Chang's trip was delayed further yesterday by the extension of the US Federal Aviation Authority's ban on all commercial flights in US airspace. The extension comes in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Chang yesterday sought the assistance of Richard Bush, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, to facilitate his return trip from the US to Taiwan.

Chang, in Hawaii, expressed his eagerness to return to Taipei in light of the steep fall of Taiwan's stock market one day after the attacks in the US. Chang said he needs to prepare for the upcoming question-and-answer session when the Legislative Yuan meets on Sept. 18.

Bush, however, reportedly told Chang that the US State Department could not grant preferential treatment to Chang's flight due to aviation safety concerns in the aftermath of the attacks. He said, however, that he would convey the premier's wish to the State Department.

Chang held a third emergency meeting with other Cabinet members from his hotel and said that he had kept in close contact with Taipei in order to maintain the government's normal functions.

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