TAIWAN VICE PREMIER RESIGNS OVER PACIFIC SCANDAL

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Takes blame for embezzled $30 million

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 5, 2008) - Taiwan’s vice-premier has quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party taking responsibility for an embarrassing diplomatic scandal involving the alleged embezzlement of US$30 million.

The cash was for Papua New Guinea in a bid to gain support for Taiwan’s international recognition over China.

Authorities in Taiwan allege it was taken by businessmen instead.

Mr. Chiou I-jen says he deeply regrets the Taiwan-Papua New Guinea diplomatic scandal and is fully cooperating with the judiciary.

The scandal surfaced last week when Singapore’s high court approved Taiwan’s request to freeze the joint bank account of two businessmen who were to serve as intermediaries to help Taipei forge ties with Papua New Guinea.

The two, a Taiwan citizen and a Singaporean, were recommended by Chiou, to the foreign minister in 2006.

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