Sun, Nov 26, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Beijing may want Olympics' co-host

CHINA AND TAIWAN IN 2008?While some see the possibility of an offer as a chance to better cross-strait relations, others fear a Chinese propaganda ploy



The government yesterday said it supported China's bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, but that it was too early to discuss Beijing's invitation to Taipei to co-host the international sporting event.

"We'd like to see Beijing win the bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games. As for the question of whether Taipei would accept Beijing's invitation [to co-host,] it is too early to discuss it," vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said yesterday, in response to a report in the English-language China Daily on Friday in China.

The report said that the Beijing 2008 Olympic Bid Committee was seriously considering the possibility of inviting Taiwan to co-host the 2008 Olympic Games, adding that relevant governmental departments were studying the situation.

"If the 2008 Olympic Games are to be held in Beijing, some of the mass events like soccer, baseball and basketball may be held in Chinese cities including Shanghai (上海) and Guangzhou (廣州), but why not Taipei?" a committee official said.

Opposition lawmakers in Taiwan were optimistic about co-hosting the events with Beijing calling it a gesture of goodwill extended from China.

"To put political differences aside, the development of cross-strait relations will benefit from cultural, sports and trade exchanges across the strait," People First Party Legislator Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和) told the Taipei Times yesterday, adding that Taiwan could no longer isolate itself from the international community.

KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) also said that Taiwan should not turn Beijing's offer down.

"This will be a good opportunity for Taiwan to distinguish itself from China so that the international community knows that Taiwan and China are different under the `one China' principle," Chen said, adding that Taiwan's co-hosting the game with Beijing would enhance Taiwan's exposure to the international community.

DPP legislator Su Huan-chi (蘇煥智), however, said that Taiwan should study the case carefully before any decision was made.

"It's a gesture of goodwill, but we need to evaluate carefully what strategies were behind their offer," Su said, adding that Taiwan should avoid falling into the trap of unification propaganda (統戰) and of being downplayed as a local government under the so-called "one China" framework.

A source from Hong Kong -- who preferred to remain unidentified -- told the Taipei Times that Chinese authorities have been very active in asking Taipei to co-host sporting events with Chinese cities. The source said China expressed the same wish last time when Hong Kong was bidding for the Asian Games, though Hong Kong failed to win the bid.

Su, nevertheless, said that Taiwan should not turn down the offer immediately.

A Taiwanese member of the International Olympic Committee (國際奧會) Wu Ching-kuo (吳經國), however, said that there is no possibility that Taiwan could co-host the 2008 Olympic Games with Beijing according to the committee's charter.

"However, what would be more ideal and realistic is that Taiwan coordinates with Beijing after Beijing wins the bid to host the Games. Some sporting events can then be held in Taipei," Wu told local media on Friday.

Meanwhile, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) openly expressed her support for Beijing's bid, adding that she would lobby for Beijing's bid at any opportunity.

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