Ko heads to meet­ing in Shang­hai

Three-day fo­rum to em­pha­size youth and med­i­cal ex­changes

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY YUAN-MING CHIAO

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wenje ( ) and a del­e­ga­tion of ap­prox­i­mately 30 city of­fi­cials yesterday be­gan a three-day trip to Shang­hai to con­tinue bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion and ex­changes be­tween the cities, where items such as youth entrepreneurship and med­i­cal af­fairs are planned to be dis­cussed.

Ko is ex­pected to meet his coun­ter­part, Shang­hai mayor Yang Xiong ( ) , with their dis­cus­sions fo­cused on in­creas­ing mu­tual par­tic­i­pa­tion in each other’s events. In con­trast to pre­vi­ously held fo­rums be­tween the two cities, cor­po­rate par­tic­i­pa­tion was not em­pha­sized prior to the meet­ing.

Four ma­jor co­op­er­a­tive agree­ments be­tween main­land China’s largest mu­nic­i­pal­ity and Tai­wan’s cap­i­tal will be fi­nal­ized, in­clud­ing elec­tronic re­ceipts, civil ser­vant de­vel­op­ment and dis­trict- to- dis­trict co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Shang­hai and Taipei’s lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tive cen­ters.

Ko is also sched­uled to visit a World War II me­mo­rial, the site of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s first na­tional congress, a Shang­hai hos­pi­tal es­tab­lished us­ing Tai­wanese cap­i­tal fol­low­ing the land­mark Eco­nomic Frame­work Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment ( ECFA) in 2010 and a busi­ness en­clave in the city’s Hongqiao area.

Ko ar­rived at Taipei Song­shan In­ter­na­tional Air­port tot­ing his own lug­gage and opted in­stead to clear cus­toms with or­di­nary pas­sen­gers rather than ex­press clear­ance for public of­fi­cials.

While field­ing ques­tions from re­porters be­fore his de­par­ture, he brushed aside a ques­tion per­tain­ing to the pos­si­bil­ity that of­fi­cials in main­land China would at­tempt to ad­dress him as the mayor of “Taipei, Tai­wan, China.”

“I will not ad­dress hy­po­thet­i­cals,” he said in re­sponse. Upon as­sum­ing of­fice in late 2014, Ko stirred spec­u­la­tion about the fu­ture of the Taipei- Shang­hai fo­rums be­cause he did not ac­cept the “1992 Con­sen­sus” in which both main­land China and Tai­wan agree to dis­agree on the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of “one China.”

Ko shifted his stance this year when he added in an Aug. 3 in­ter­view with Chi­nese state media that he “re­spects and un­der­stands” China’s po­si­tion on the “1992 Con­sen­sus.” He also al­luded to ac­knowl­edg­ing the role of the “1992 Con­sen­sus” in bring­ing city- to- city ex­changes that could be pur­sued prag­mat­i­cally in bring­ing ben­e­fits to both sides of the Tai­wan Strait.

The mayor’s spokesper­son Lin Ho- ming ( ) de­nied that much of Ko’s Shang­hai itin­er­ary was closed to the public due to his propen­sity for mak­ing off- the- cuff re­marks. Lin re­it­er­ated that cross-city ex­changes meant that the thrust of Ko’s visit would be cen­tered on his meet­ings with Shang­hai mayor Yang.

The fo­rum was launched by Ko’s pre­de­ces­sor, Hau Lung­bin ( ) in 2010 to pro­mote city- to- city ex­changes lead­ing to Shang­hai’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Taipei In­ter­na­tional Flora Ex­po­si­tion later that year.

CNA

Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je, left, reads while seated in econ­omy class aboard a flight bound for Shang­hai, yesterday. Joined by one of his deputy may­ors, Teng Chia-chi, right, and around 30 mem­bers of his mu­nic­i­pal team, Ko will meet with Shang­hai’s mayor while con­clud­ing city-to-city agree­ments on ex­changes rang­ing from youth entrepreneurship to elec­tronic re­ceipts.

AP

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