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Tuesday, 11 April, 2000, 07:42 GMT 08:42 UK
Taiwan picks new cabinet
Tang
Mr Tang's deputy will succeed him as defence minister
By the BBC's Francis Markus in Taipei

Taiwan's new prime minister-designate, Tang Fei, has made his first cabinet announcements.

The move comes just a day after his party, the nationalist KMT, formally agreed to allow him to serve as prime minister under president-elect, Chen Shui-bian.

The party, although defeated in last month's presidential elections, had tried to press for negotiations with Mr Chen on the new premier's appointment.

After the KMT's formal statement, Tang Fei lost little time in making public his first cabinet appointments.

He said his deputy at the defence ministry, Wu Shih-wen, would replace him as defence minister.

Mr Wu, a former navy commander in chief, has worked closely with Tang Fei in seeking to push through far-reaching reforms of the military.

His appointment is regarded as a signal that Mr Tang could continue to play an important role in the military reform process, which aims to put the armed forces increasingly under civilian control.

Local military analysts say president-elect Chen Shui-bian also sees a need to reorient the structure of Taiwan's forces from one dominated by the army to one giving the airforce and navy a greater role.

As Tang Fei began the process of appointing members of the new cabinet to take office on 20 May, he named the secretary-general of Mr Chen's Democratic Progressive Party, Yu Shyi Kun, as vice premier.

Although Chen Shui-bian has pledged to form a government across party lines, he is widely expected to include several DPP figures in his government.

Tang Fei also announced that he would soon go to hospital for surgery on a benign lump in his chest.

That is likely to put the 68-year-old out of action for several days.

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See also:

08 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
China brands Taiwan leader 'scum'
29 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan names new prime minister
26 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
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23 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Crunch time for Taiwan's KMT
23 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
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19 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan enters new political era
18 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan's man of the people
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