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September 11, 2009

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Taiwan leadership reshuffled after typhoon woes

TAIWAN'S new "Executive Yuan" chief, Wu Den-yih, was sworn into office yesterday afternoon along with a new set of department leaders.

Wu's predecessor, Liu Chao-shiuan, and the former department leaders left their posts yesterday morning following widespread public criticism of the slow response by the Taiwan government to the deadly typhoon Morakot.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou appointed Wu, the ruling Kuomintang's secretary-general, to replace Liu on Monday.

Liu said as the leader of the "Executive Yuan," he should take political responsibility for the authority's handling of last month's storm.

The Taiwan government replaced 10 department leaders in the reshuffle.

Ma told a news conference yesterday that negotiations on an economic cooperation framework agreement and a memorandum of understanding on financial cooperation between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan had been delayed by the disaster relief and recovery efforts associated with Morakot.

He said he hoped that the two sides would resume negotiations as soon as possible.

Wu also said that improving relations across the Taiwan Strait on the basis of peaceful development would benefit the people on both sides.

Wu said he planned to spend his first night as the new "Executive Yuan" head in typhoon-battered Kaohsiung.

Morakot ravaged Taiwan in early August, leaving more than 700 people dead or missing and forcing the evacuation of thousands. It was the worst typhoon to hit the island in nearly 50 years, and caused major damage across the central and southern parts of the island.


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