Thu, Dec 20, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Taipei-Shanghai forum opens today in Taipei

NO POLITICS:Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong each said discussing economics would help avoid disputes

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan independence supporters at the entrance of Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) yesterday hold a banner “welcoming” Shanghai Vice Mayor Zhou Bo with “Taiwan, China: one country on each side” as he arrives to take part in the Taipei-Shanghai forum.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The twin-city forum between Taipei and Shanghai opens today in Taipei, focusing on economic issues with the circular economy as its theme, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Held annually by the cities since 2010, the two-day forum has sparked controversy because of China’s suppression of Taiwan in the international community, but Ko said that as long as economics, rather than politics, remained the center of discussion, there were unlikely to be any disputes.

Ko was responding to comments by Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), who had earlier yesterday said he hoped the forum would not stir up any political turmoil.

Chen said inter-city exchanges across the Taiwan Strait were in line with the council’s policies and he looked forward to seeing the forum proceed smoothly and yield positive results.

Ko agreed, saying that the forum should pay more attention to economic affairs “so that the event generates fewer disputes and proceeds more smoothly.”

Shanghai Vice Mayor Zhou Bo (周波) arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at about 11:30am leading a 135-member delegation.

They were confronted outside the airport by pro-independence protesters holding up banners that read: “Taiwan, China: one country on each side,” and shouting slogans.

However, they were confined to an “opinion expression zone” set up by police.

The Taipei Police Department dispatched about 600 police officers to the airport for crowd control.

Chilly Chen (陳峻涵), office director of the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign, was dragged out of the airport by police.

Given the nature of the forum, Zhou should limit his discussion to exchanges between the two cities, Chilly Chen said.

“Do not think about doing ‘united front’ [work] here,” he added.

Zhou is participating in the forum on behalf of Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong (應勇), who was unable to attend because of scheduling conflicts.

The Shanghai official told those awaiting his arrival that the forum is the most important mechanism for exchanges across the Strait, and that he expected those in his delegation to make new friends and gain new knowledge.

Shanghai has launched a plan to position itself as a global financial, shipping and technology hub by 2035, Zhou said, adding that he was looking forward to sharing with Taipei counterparts experiences in urban development.

Keynote speeches about the circular economy are to be presented by Taipei Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) and Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission Vice Director Zhou Qiang (周強), the Taipei City Government said.

Cultural development, urban renovation and environmental protection would also be covered, the city government said, adding that the two cities would sign three memorandums of understanding on cooperation.

After his arrival yesterday, Zhou visited power management solution provider Delta Electronics Inc (台達電), one of Taiwan’s biggest high-tech companies.

The city government last night hosted a banquet to welcome the Shanghai delegation.

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