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September 22, 2017

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Two ministers fess up to their poor skills at speaking to the media

TAIPEI--Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih and National Development Council Minister Kuan Chung-ming admitted Sunday they were poor at communicating with the media amid calls by the head of the Cabinet for agency chiefs to communicate better.

Yeh and Kuan mocked themselves as not being "good examples" of communicating with the media, said Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun, relating what the two said at a seminar earlier in the day at which Premier Jiang Yi-huah spelled out his expectations of Cabinet members.

Yeh sparked speculation he was behind the decision by Ou Chin-der to resign as chairman of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. after the minister said Ou "should take full responsibility" for multiple disruptions in the high-speed rail line's services.

When news emerged on March 5 that Ou had quit, however, Yeh seemed baffled by Ou's move, telling the media late in the day that he learned of Ou's decision through a third person and did not know how to respond because he was so surprised.

Kuan drew attention recently for flip-flopping on his evaluation of Taiwan's economy, saying last month that Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea no longer see Taiwan as a member of the four Asian tigers, as excessive restrictions have hampered the county's growth.

The minister apparently contradicted his earlier remarks, however, when he said early this month Taiwan is a top performer among Asia economies.

Among 25 instructions Jiang laid out for members of his Cabinet, some involved strengthening communications and being able to publicly explain and defend the government's policies while not speaking out on issues they are not authorized to comment on.

The move was seen as trying to curtail infighting that has been seen within the Cabinet over the past year.

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