How many can attend city forum up to China: Ko
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.