Confirmation of Greater Tainan’s application to become a member of the League of Historical Cities has been pushed back as a result of interference from the representative for the Chinese city of Xian, Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday, as he asked for the central government’s assistance in resolving the matter.
If Tainan’s membership is approved, that would prove the claims made by the Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan that cross-strait relations have improved, Lai added.
Tainan Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (林欽榮) told an impromptu press conference that during a meeting in the Vietnamese city of Hue on Wednesday the issue of Greater Tainan’s application was discussed and the league chairman said Greater Tainan had received seven affirmative votes and had passed the review.
Of the eight representatives in attendance, only the Xian representative objected and asked that Greater Tainan’s membership be delayed, on grounds that he would have to convey the decision to Beijing and wait for further instructions, Lin said.
Lai said Greater Tainan is not only the cultural capital of Taiwan, but also an internationally renowned historical city. He added that the city government had tried for years to join the league, but every bid over the past decade had been rejected.
“Last year, things took a turn for the better and we were finally able to participate in the league’s annual meeting in an official capacity as an observer this year,” Lai said.
Saying the league’s regulations did not give representatives veto powers, Lai added: “Given that the vote was seven to one, we hope that the league’s board will stick by its majority decision.”
“We also call for the city of Xian to respect Greater Tainan, respect Greater Tainan becoming one of the world’s historical cities and respect the residents of Greater Tainan,” Lai said.
The matter should not be a political issue at all because Greater Tainan clearly has the wherewithal to contribute to world heritage and history, Lai said, adding that joining the league would also enhance the city’s international profile.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer