The Third Chiang-Chen Meeting had just concluded at the end of April. In an expected turn of events, SEF (Straits Exchange Foundation) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung suddenly tendered his resignation to President Ma Ying-jeou on Monday (May 4). Chairman Chiang stressed that he had completed his mission up to the current stage and had decided to resign before the start of the next stage. According to informed sources, Chairman Chiang had decided to resign regardless of whether President Ma approved.Looking at the reasons in the central paragraph, (1) refers to the ongoing power struggle between the Ma forces and the KMT Old Guard, while (2) refers to the ugly fact that his son was busted for doing business in China while Dad was selling out the island to the CCP, while Chiang's wife was said to operate a restaurant that caters to China tourists. Chiang is in his 70s. President Ma refused to accept the resignation but Chiang insists he will leave when the one year mark (26 May) is reached.
Chairman Chiang gave three reasons for his resignation: 1) Cross-Strait peace depended on the KMT staying in power, and the KMT administration must rely on the staunch support of the Taiwanese businessmen on the Mainland, including the party-to-party platform between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under the earlier instructions of then KMT Chairman Lien Chan; 2) He had recently become the target of smear tactics by certain people who shamelessly attacked his entire family with groundless accusations; 3) The SEF and the ARATS (Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait) had signed nine agreements and issued a joint statement, so it was an appropriate time to pass the torch. Chairman Chiang hoped his resignation could become effective as of May 26.
Last night Chairman Chiang confirmed that he had tendered his resignation to President Ma on Monday out of considerations of his age, health and capabilities. Chiang added that he hoped to spend more time with his family, and that he had originally planned to serve as SEF chairman for only one year. Chiang said that during his birthday party last year he had implied that he would leave the SEF at an appropriate time.
The Taipei Times noted in its report:
KMT Legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進), a close friend of Chiang's, said "someone" within the party had spread rumors to undermine Chiang.Clearly someone is pushing things from behind the scenes. Some observers are claiming that the Ma camp is trying to lever out Chiang because he is aligned with the Old Guard that is running KMT China policy. In this interpretation, Ma moves Wu Po-hsiung, the current Chairman, into the SEF spot, and then takes the Chairmanship himself, to strengthen himself within the KMT. Wu is a powerful enemy of Ma, so perhaps Ma might not want to concede the chief negotiator position to him. On the other hand, the Old Guard, whom Wu is aligned to, is running the China negotiations, so it may well matter very little who has what title, as long as Ma is not running the show. Moreover, Wu is a powerful Hakka politician and a key player in any KMT re-election campaign.
"Criticism [of Chiang] by the opposition is normal in Taiwan's democracy. What upset us, however, were the rumors spread by those within the party, which were completely unacceptable," Lee said. "President Ma should reward party members who make great contributions rather than abandoning them after exploiting them. Otherwise no one would dare to serve the government anymore."
KMT Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓), head of the legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee, said he was surprised to learn of Chiang's resignation and the KMT caucus hoped Chiang would stay on.
Chou said he had heard many rumors about Chiang in the legislature, but
declined to elaborate.
Whatever is happening, after this is resolved, observers say to look for Ma to reshuffle the cabinet and bring in popular politicians like current Taichung mayor Jason Hu to head up the new government, so that the KMT can win the next couple of elections.
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