Thu, Aug 10, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Transport minister insists on quitting

CONFLICTING CLAIMS Although the GIO minister said that Premier Su Tseng-chang had convinced her to stay, Kuo Yao-chi denied that she would reconsider her resignation

By Shelley Shan and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Minister of Transportation and Communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) reiterated yesterday that she had not changed her mind about resigning, and said she had asked Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to approve her resignation and find an appropriate replacement as soon as possible.

"I have asked the premier to help me fulfill my desire [to resign]," Kuo said. "There is no use crying over spilt milk."

She also denied that she had consulted President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) before tendering her resignation to Su.

Kuo said she sent her resignation to the Executive Yuan on Monday, after which she faxed a copy to the Presidential Office and thanked the president for his support over the years.

She emphasized that she had not spoken to Chen about stepping down and said people should stop interpreting her resignation as an indicator of tension between Chen and Su.

Kuo made the statement after she met with Su yesterday morning.

According to Government Information Office Minister Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦), who spoke to the press immediately after the meeting, Su was upset that Kuo had announced her resignation before consulting with him.

Kuo explained to the premier that she had done this to show her determination to quit, Cheng said.

The minister said that Kuo had actually planned to leave her post sometime in October, but the uproar over the electronic toll collection (ETC) system convinced her to leave earlier.

Cheng said that the Taiwan High-Speed Railway was scheduled to be completed in October, which was when Kuo had been planning to leave.

"Kuo said that if the high-speed railway is completed on time, it would be a good chance for her to leave, because she would have accomplished her mission. If not, it would have been a good chance for her to leave, because she would have had to take responsibility for not keeping her promise to the public," Cheng said.

While Cheng said that Kuo had promised Su to reconsider her resignation after their conversation, which lasted approximately 40 minutes, Kuo denied that she had said this.

She told reporters that Su had only asked her to double-check her decision with her husband, and added that Cheng had not been present during her conversation with the premier.

Kuo said, however, that she felt relieved about Cheng's statement on Tuesday about the ETC system.

Cheng had said that the issues surrounding the system should be negotiated and evaluated according to the Supreme Administrative Court's verdict and that no contract had any advantage thus far.

"[Cheng's statement] will save our colleagues in the Taiwan Area National Expressway Bureau from a crisis," she said.

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