TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s cabinet members resigned en masse from their positions on Monday (Jan. 30) in a government reshuffle following the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) trouncing at the year-end local elections.
The members received a tea set as a farewell present from outgoing Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who exhorted them to “withstand the heat and brew good tea.” Earlier this month, Su gifted each member a teapot at a banquet.
In his last speech as premier, Su said the four years since he took the helm were strewn with challenges. He expressed his gratitude to cabinet staff for weathering the turmoil and stressed the importance for him, as a leader, to take responsibility for what could have been done better.
On Friday (Jan. 27), after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) appointment of the new premier, former Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), Su said in a Facebook post that the task had been onerous for his cabinet, from the threat of African swine fever (ASF) to a once-in-a-lifetime drought, the virus of the century, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and global inflation.
Su was silent when asked by the media about his next move, or if he had intentions for next year’s presidential race, per SETN.
The new cabinet is to be led by the 71-year-old epidemiologist who will be sworn into office on Tuesday (Jan. 31). Chen has unveiled his list of 33 ministers during the Lunar New Year holiday, with the remaining posts announced on Monday.
Among the offices in the spotlight are the ones involved in national security affairs as Taiwan gears up for the presidential election in 2024. There is also the possibility of a cross-strait flare-up with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly set to visit the country in spring.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正), and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) will remain in office. Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明彥), a veteran diplomat, will be the new head of the National Security Bureau, replacing Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), who is mired in a thesis controversy that some believe was partly to blame for the DPP’s rout.