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President accepts SEF chairman's resignation, despite reluctance

President accepts SEF chairman's resignation, despite reluctance

Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou has accepted the resignation of Chiang Pin-kung as chairman of the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), a spokesman for the Presidential Office said Wednesday. With reluctance Ma consented to Chiang's resignation tendered May 18, praising Chiang for performing remarkably well since he assumed the post May 26, 2008, the spokesman said. In that resignation letter, Chiang expressed his wish to resign after the eighth round of talks with China. The talks took place in Taipei Aug. 8-9. Chiang said at a press conference earlier Wednesday that he had decided to tender his resignation in a SEF board meeting scheduled for Sept. 27. The decision was made based on the factors of his age, physical condition and career plans, the 79-year-old veteran politician said. He expressed thanks for Ma's trust and encouragement, who he said had emboldened him "to bear hardship without complaint, to take all the blame and to put up with any defamation." Referring to criticism by opposition parties over his failure to avoid interest conflicts incurred by his family's business interests in China while he was serving as Taiwan's top negotiator with China, Chiang said that "I wish the untrue and irresponsible slanderous remarks ... against me and my family members in recent years, will be gone with the wind." The SEF is the semi-official intermediary body authorized by the government of Taiwan to deal with China in the absence of official ties between the two sides. Since his election as SEF chairman, Chiang has held eight rounds of talks with his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits President Chen Yunlin. They have signed a total of 18 cross-strait agreements, including the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement. Chiang's deputy, Kao Koong-liang, also announced at the press conference that he will also resign. Meanwhile, Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland Deputy Chairman Yeh Hui-te told CNA in Nanjing, China that Chiang's resignation "is not just a loss to cross-strait relations, but also a loss for Taiwanese businessmen." Cross-strait interactions are currently at a crucial stage, he said. Chiang's leaving the SEF means that Taiwan will have to start afresh to build mutual trust with China. This will not be good for Taiwanese businesses in China, he said. (By Kelven Huang, Chen Hung-chin, Rita Cheng and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-10-17 20:28 GMT+08:00