The Presidential Office and Cabinet yesterday utterly denied any intention of relocating the nation's capital from Taipei to Kaohsiung following a suggestion from Vice President Annette Lu (
While Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chih-mai (
"She merely pointed out that Taipei City does not necessarily have to remain the nation's capital forever, and proposed a very creative idea that the government could consider relocating the nation's capital from Taipei to Kaohsiung," Chen said.
Lu made the remarks during a luncheon with local tourism industry leaders in Kaohsiung on Saturday.
Responding to Lu's proposal, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers Lin Chin-hsing (
In a press release jointly made public by their offices, the trio pledged to launch a petition in the legislature to seek endorsement from lawmakers across party lines to push for a national referendum on the issue. They also planned to broach the subject during the DPP's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting, seeking the endorsement of their party.
Opposing the relocation idea, opposition lawmakers yesterday unleashed a tirade against Lu's proposal. KMT Spokeswoman Kuo Su-chun (
"It's to the people's detriment if the government fails to take cost-effectiveness into consideration during its policy-making process," Kuo said. She also called on the DPP to adopt a more pragmatic approach on this matter.
"If it is indeed the government's policy to relocate the nation's capital, we'd like to see its detailed plan and evaluation reports," she said.
Commenting on the DPP lawmakers' referendum proposal, Kuo said that the move would be meaningless because the DPP government is known for breaking its own promises.
"While the election-day referendum on arms procurement failed, it still forged on the arms procurement plan," Kuo said.
Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
PFP Spokesman Hwang Yih-jiau (
"Is there anything wrong with keeping the nation's capital in Taipei, judging from the political, economical and military aspects?" Hwang asked. "If the move was aimed at narrowing the gap between the north and south, I believe there are other alternatives that could achieve that goal."
If the DPP government insisted on pushing for a referendum to decide the matter, Hwang said that the PFP respected the people's and lawmakers' right to initiate a referendum as long as the procedure met the requirement of the Referendum Law (公民投票法).
PFP lawmaker Lee Hung-chun (
"All it has in mind is votes, votes, votes. Has the nation's overall interest ever crossed its mind?" Lee asked. "It's not an easy task and bound to cause a dent in the state coffers to relocate the nation's capital. Japan and South Korea are two perfect examples."