Economy minister Chang Chia-juch offers to quit over deadly Kaohsiung gas blasts
Bloomberg and Keira Lu Huang
Taiwan's economy minister, Dr Chang Chia-juch, has offered his resignation, taking responsibility for gas explosions in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung city last week that killed at least 30 people.
According to a statement on the Ministry of Economic Affairs' website, Chang said he hoped his resignation would stem the political blame game in Taiwan.
Taiwanese Premier Dr Jiang Yi-huah praised Chang's response to the disaster and said he hoped he would reconsider the resignation.
Meanwhile, the authorities in Kaohsiung sealed off two streets and evacuated residents yesterday following reports of a fresh leak at the site of the fatal explosions.
Chen Chin-der, head of the city's environmental protection bureau, said methane and other gases had been detected at the site, prompting officials to order the area to be evacuated.
Taiwan Power Company was told by the government to cut the gas supply to the pipeline believed to be the source of the leak.
The evacuation order was later lifted after the leak was reduced to a negligible level.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse