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May 27, 2017

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MAC denies reports of ministerial discord

TAIPEI--The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC, 陸委會) on Monday rejected speculations that one of its deputy ministers was replaced last week because of conflict with Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦).

MAC spokeswoman Wu Mei-hung (吳美紅) also said there was no link between Chang Hsien-yao's (張顯耀) departure and a security lapse that occurred in June during a historic visit by Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (國台辦).

At a news conference, Wu said that Chang had stepped down pending an "administrative investigation" into matters "related to his work."

Citing "family reasons," the Cabinet announced Saturday that Chang had resigned as the MAC's principal deputy minister and would be replaced by Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉), another MAC deputy minister.

MAC officials said at the time that Wang had tried but failed to persuade Chang to change his mind about leaving.

A different version of the story, however, surfaced Sunday when Chang sent a text message to reporters saying that he had been "told to resign" on Aug. 14.

He said that he "gladly" did as he was told "when I am no longer needed" but stressed that he had been "loyal and dutiful."

In response, the MAC said late Sunday that Chang "had to be removed and would be investigated" because there were "some suspicions related to his work that had to be clarified."

At Monday's news conference, Wu explained that the MAC was trying to protect Chang when it told the public that he had offered to resign for "family reasons."

She said that Wang and Chang had shown respect for each other at work and that the reports of discord between them were "absolutely not true."

The MAC also does not think Chang should be held responsible for the incident in which Zhang and his entourage were surrounded by paint-throwing anti-Chinese protesters in Kaohsiung, she said.

Chang, 49, was appointed the MAC's second highest ranking official in September 2013. In February this year, he assumed the posts of vice chairman and secretary-general of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF, 海基會), the organization responsible for handling relations with China in the absence of official ties.

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