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May 29, 2017

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Minister criticizes High Speed Rail Corp. chair

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) yesterday criticized Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC) Chairman Ou Chin-der (歐晉德), saying that Ou should focus on improving the high-speed rail's service.

Yeh's remark came after local media reported on Saturday that Ou will be head adviser of Sean Lien's (連勝文) campaign team. Lien, son of Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and a KMT Central Committee member, is scheduled to hold a press conference to reveal his final decision on whether or not he will run for Taipei mayor.

On Saturday morning, around 5,000 high-speed rail passengers were affected by power outages and 15 trains were delayed, two of the bullet trains for more than 30 minutes.

Yeh said the THSRC raised its fare price last October but failed to make improvments in its service quality, adding that "the high-speed rail's frequency of issues is too high. I'm very disappointed. Ou Chin-der should focus on the high-speed rail."

The minister said he is not sure what exactly a head campaign adviser does, but given that there were so many issues with the high-speed rail system, he is not the only one disappointed with the firm.

Yeh refused to comment on whether or not it is appropriate for Ou to continue serving as the THSRC's chairman while assisting Lien's campaign, saying that "I could not answer the question regarding the THSRC's personnel issues for the time being."

Yeh stressed that there are issues with the company's finance and high-speed rail trains, noting that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is currently assessing the situation, and will take some actions to handle the issues.

Ou has not responded to Yeh's remarks, but on Saturday responded to the issue of assisting Lien's campaign via his staff, saying that serving as the chairman of the THSRC is his main duty and he will provide opinions and assistance to Lien so long as it does not interfere with the company's operation.

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