Monday, September 7, 2009
Taiwan government should survive turmoil over typhoon response
Monday's resignation by Taiwan's premier is not expected to alter the current administration's focus on better ties with China, according to the Reuters international news service. More cabinet ministers are expected to resign in the furor of what most see as a botched response to devastation wrought by Typhoon Morakot, which struck the island over three days in August and killed 758 people. Torrential rains caused massive landslides that buried villages in the southern islands, Reuters said. President Ma Ying-jeou accepted the resignation of Premier Liu Chao-shiuan and appointed Wu Den-yih, another top Nationalist Party official, to replace him. "I'm the top administrator and all of the political responsibility rests on my shoulders, so I offered my resignation to the president, and he agreed," Liu said, according to Reuters. Ma has faced severe criticism over his government's disaster response efforts, but mostly for remarks he made after the disaster that appeared to blame residents of the six affected counties for not being adequately prepared. Wu said at a news conference that he would pursue Ma's policies of stronger economic ties with Beijing, Taiwan's rival since the 1949 revolution that brought the Chinese Communist Party to power in the mainland. The Nationalist Party fled offshore to nearby Taiwan, where it now rules an island nation of 23 million. China maintains that Taiwan is a renegade province and frequently threatens to recapture the island by force. Taiwan's ruling party was considered by many Western nations, including the United States, to be the legitimate rulers of mainland China until 1971, when the United Nations transferred its seat to the Communist government. Taiwan's vice-premier, Paul Chiu, also resigned Monday and was replaced by another party official, Chu Li-lun. Hsu Yung-ming, a political science professor at Soochow University in Taipei, Taiwan's capital, told Reuters it was customary in Taiwan for the premier to resign in such a circumstance.