How many can at­tend city fo­rum up to China: Ko

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je ( ) said Wed­nes­day that it is up to China how many peo­ple can take part in a Taipei Shang­hai city fo­rum slated for Aug. 17-19.

Ko will lead a del­e­ga­tion to Shang­hai to at­tend the fo­rum Aug. 17. Ac­cord­ing to past prac­tice, the Taipei city gov­ern­ment will pro­vide funds for three coun­cilors to ac­com­pany the mayor, while other coun­cilors who want to at­tend will have to do so at their own ex­pense.

Taipei City Coun­cil­woman and party whip Ros­alia Wu of the op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party ( DPP) said Wed­nes­day that Ko had asked her to at­tend the fo­rum. She and other DPP col- leagues would also like to go at their own ex­pense, she said.

How­ever, she was in­formed the pre­vi­ous evening by the city gov­ern­ment that coun­cilors that pay their own way will only be al­lowed to at­tend a din­ner hosted by Taipei City Aug. 18, and will not be per­mit­ted to at­tend other fo­rum ac­tiv­i­ties.

Wu said that the city coun­cilors’ in­ten­tion to take part in the fo­rum is aimed at wit­ness­ing deep­en­ing ex­changes and that it would be point­less for her to go just to have din­ner with Ko.

She noted that a lot of city coun­cilors also at­tended the fo­rum at their own ex­pense dur­ing the ten­ure of Ko’s pre­de­ces­sor, Hau Lung-bin ( ), and said that Ko should main­tain the same con­di­tion.

“The DPP will de­cide upon fol­low-up ac­tion af­ter the re­sults of Ko’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Shang­hai, but will not rule out the op­tion of not at­tend­ing at all,” Wu said.

Asked about Wu’s com­plaint, Ko said that the venue of the fo­rum and how may can en­ter is not for him to de­cide.

“China makes the de­ci­sion and I will re­spect the wishes of the host,” Ko said.

Ko added that 37 jour­nal­ists have reg­is­tered to at­tend the fo­rum. This, he said, has sur­prised the Chi­nese side, which has said it can­not ac­com­mo­date so many.

On why coun­cilors at­tend­ing at their own ex­pense could at­tend the fo­rum when Hau was mayor, Ko pointed out that “this was be­cause only a few wanted to go pre­vi­ously.”

China is very care­ful and thinks that too many at­ten­dees will be hard to man­age, Ko said.

Pol­i­tics is ne­go­ti­a­tion, and China is think­ing about the ques­tion, he said.

Is­sues re­lated to city de­vel­op­ment and youth busi­ness star­tups will be the fo­cus of this year’s fo­rum and will in­clude sub-fo­rums on top­ics such as cul­ture, smart cities and com­mu­nity med­i­cal ser­vices, with the aim of bol­ster­ing two-way ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous an­nounce­ments.

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