[ LETTERS ]

Sun, Sep 29, 2013 - Page 8

Save Linkou Forest

The Taipei City Government bid to host the 2017 Taipei Universiade. At first, the news that the city would host the event was received with delight. However, the city decided to build the Universiade village on the grounds of the forest in Linkou District (林口), New Taipei City (新北市), without considering the impact on the environment. The forest covers more than 13 hectares, equal to 1more than 3 soccer fields, and it is heart-wrenching to witness its destruction.

We welcome the best athletes from great universities around the world to come to Taiwan to compete. However, we also hope they can enjoy the nation’s natural beauty.

“Linkou Forest” is home to more than 1,300 trees, many more than 40 years old. Besides this, many birds and tropical insects make the park their home. Linkou Forest is the last piece of nature in the district. Once it is destroyed, the natural ecosystem will be ruined and the soil and water of the surrounding mountains may be harmed.

Another concern is that the buildings will be constructed above “the warning slope for mud slides.” Residents near the site can now see small mudslides. The Taipei City Government lies when it says the warning slope is far from the buildings and will not worsen mudslides in the district. The construction of the village will surely increase the occurrences of major mud slides, especially in the summer and during typhoon season. Please help fight the construction of the Universiade village and oppose the plans of the Taipei City Government.

People who love and want to protect the environment should work together to convince the host organization to choose another place to build the Universiade village and reduce the construction area. Do not destroy Linkou Forest forever for a 12-day Universiade. Let the next generation enjoy the forest ecosystem, a healthy city and a low-carbon future.

Nipa Wu

New Taipei City

Rethinking the Bogar goals

Since the creation of the APEC forum in 1989, the most significant achievement of APEC has been the creation of the “Bogor goals,” which were announced at the 1994 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bogor, Indonesia. Essentially, the Bogor goals aimed at achieving free and open trade and investment by 2010 for developed economies and 2020 by developing economies. In 2010, APEC concluded that progress had been made, but many challenges remained in the areas of trade and investment liberalization. Therefore, APEC economies will now strive to achieve free trade by 2020.

As Indonesia is this year’s APEC host, it is fitting that one of the three APEC priorities for this year is “attaining the Bogor goals.” The other two priorities are “achieving sustainable growth with equity” and “promoting connectivity.” It is not surprising that Indonesia is focused on advancing the achievement of the Bogor goals, since Indonesia has played a major role in bringing them about.

Most importantly, the promotion of free trade and investment is strongly linked to the attainment of sustainable growth in an equitable manner. This means that the implementation of policies relating to trade and investment liberalization must support sustainable growth and result in benefits that are shared equally by all people. In addition, the vastness of the Asia-Pacific region means that APEC must seek ways to ensure greater connectivity among its members. Thus, Indonesia has not only developed three interrelated priorities of importance to itself, but also to the APEC community.

“Chinese Taipei,” as Taiwan is called in APEC, can play a major role in APEC. Taiwan’s APEC lead representative, former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), served in the same capacity in 1994, when the Bogor goals were created. Only one other 1994 APEC economy representative will also attend this year’s meeting, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam.

Siew could call on APEC leaders to clarify the meaning of free trade, the main point found in the Bogor goals. The achievement of free trade could mean zero tariffs or other levels in quantitative terms. However, it is suggested that the Bogor goals are defined to mean the promotion of freer trade. This means that APEC will have achieved the Bogor goals when every APEC member has made progress through individual actions, as well as through collective actions.

Furthermore, the spirit of free trade embodied in the Bogor goals entails that APEC members should also ensure that regional undertakings, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, are open to membership from APEC members. Ultimately, when 2020 arrives, APEC could state that the trade and investment environment in the Asia-Pacific region has become freer and the Bogor goals have been achieved.

Ho Chen-sheng

Taipei