Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday told Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong (楊雄) that he hoped increased participation in this year’s Taipei-Shanghai forum would help both sides of the Taiwan Strait boost interactions, goodwill and mutual trust.
Ko, who arrived in Shanghai earlier yesterday for the Taipei-Shanghai City Forum, made the remarks during his meeting with Yang, where the two exchanged pleasantries and souvenirs.
The nearly 100 businesspeople in the 130-strong Taipei delegation are scheduled to exchange opinions about culture, smart city infrastructure, youth entrepreneurship and healthcare systems within communities with their Chinese counterparts today at the Ruijin Hotel Shanghai, the forum’s venue.
Yang touted Shanghai and Taipei as the first two cities to have carried out exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, including the annual forum, which he said has led to remarkable outcomes. In return, Ko expressed his gratitude to the Shanghai City Government for hosting the event.
Ko presented Yang with a souvenir, a painting by Taipei Municipal Bailing Senior High School student Hsu En-chi (許恩綺), which features a white pigeon and a Qin Dynasty terra-cotta soldier, juxtaposing the concepts of peace and war.
In return, Yang presented Ko with a painted ceramic dish.
Yang referred to Ko as “Mayor Ko of Taipei,” avoiding a concern among local media outlets that China would try to undermine Taiwan’s sovereignty by addressing Ko in an inappropriate manner.
In response to reporters’ questions prior to his departure, Ko said he would seek to establish mutual trust across the Taiwan Strait.
“Without mutual trust, both sides are always on guard against each other. This slows things down, resulting in low efficiency,” he said.
Ko also brushed aside criticism by Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅) of the Democratic Progressive Party, who said that members of the delegation were “Ko Dynasty nouveaux riches,” using Universal Eye Center president Lin Pi-jung (林丕容) as an example.
In response, Ko said that Lin was his sole appointment to the delegation.
On Sunday evening, Wang told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that Ko was apparently taking Lin, his National Taiwan University classmate, on the trip so that Lin could “establish business ties” in China, similar to methods employed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
He lambasted Ko’s move, saying that private-sector delegates selected by the Taipei City Government are “parvenus” of the “Ko Dynasty.”
Ko said that, with the exception of Lin, who also doubles as the chairman of online shopping outlet books.com.tw, all delegates were appointed by the conveners of four sub-forums scheduled to open in Shanghai today.
“The only exception is Lin Pi-jung, my college classmate. We are quite close. Considering that he has a business in Shanghai and that he knows his way around, I specifically put him on the delegation,” he said.
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