Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Executive Yuan wants truce on relay

PLAY BALL Government Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey and the premier were among those who called on the KMT to cooperate with the DPP's plans for a UN torch relay

By Shih Hsiu-chuan, Flowa Wang and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Executive Yuan yesterday urged the Taipei City Government to cooperate with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) by controlling traffic at the start of the party's nationwide UN bid torch relay tomorrow.

"Taipei Mayor [Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌)] is obliged to take the initiative and assist with traffic control," Government Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) told a press conference.

At the press conference, Lee Kao-hsiang (李高祥), deputy minister of the Sports Affairs Council (SAC), said that the council had asked the Taipei City government for help in this regard.

"But we have also made some preparations ourselves. Holding the relay in the early morning, starting at 6:30am, will lessen its impact on traffic," Lee said.

Lee said that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) would light the torch at a ceremony held at 7am on Ketagelan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office and then lead the crowd in a run along the boulevard to Jingfumen (景福門) as the first leg of the relay.

Lee said that a group of 17 athletes will complete the 1,200km torch relay across the country's 25 cities and counties in 11 days.

Some local governments controlled by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have threatened to boycott the event at the suggestion of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (?#32993;志強) and Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋).

Sheih said that while local governments had been invited to participate, their failure to do so would not hinder the event.

"We have organized the event to demonstrate the will of the 23 million Taiwanese to join the UN, which has nothing to do with the [DPP's proposal for a] referendum on UN membership using the name `Taiwan,'" Shieh said.

He added that people who support the KMT's proposal for a "return" to the UN under the name "Republic of China (ROC)" are welcome to participate in the event.

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊祥) added his voice to the calls for a truce with KMT-controlled local governments.

Citing the Assembly and Parade Law (集遊法), Chang said that as the relay is a sports event there was no need to apply for permits from the Taipei City Government.

In response, Taipei City Government Director of Information Yang Hsiao-tung (羊曉東) said the city government was responsible for controlling traffic to ensure the safety of pedestrians and vehicles.

Yang said the city government routinely communicated traffic information to residents via numerous channels ahead of large-scale road races, but had been unable to do so in this instance because the Sports Council had yet to apply for a permit or propose its traffic control plan.

The city government was in the dark about whether the event would force the alteration of bus routes or result in any road blocks, Yang said.

"The Sports Council only sent a letter asking for the city government's cooperation. However, issuing a letter is not the same as filing an application for a permit," Yang said.

I don't understand why the Sports Council first said the relay did not require a permit, but then later said the letter amounted to an application [for a permit]. I really don't understand what they are thinking," he said.

This story has been viewed 3661 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top