Wed, Nov 24, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Beijing's antics at regional conference blocks Taipei's bid

CAPITAL CITIES The nation's request to host next year's meeting of capital cities in Asia was halted by China's late application and lobbying


Taiwan will have priority to host the annual conference of the Asian Network of Major Cities (ANMC) in 2006, according to a joint declaration issued at the conclusion of the Asian cities organization's conference in Jakarta yesterday.

Participants at the conference issued a six-point declaration that includes Taipei's priority right to host the 2006 meeting, Taipei City Government spokesman Yu Tze-hsiang (游梓翔) said.

Yu said that all the ANMC members except Beijing signed the declaration.

Yu said Taipei wanted to try for the right to host next year's meeting, but Beijing won instead, "through its barbaric manner."

He said that due to the efforts of the Taipei delegation, 10 ANMC members issued an open letter saying that they would not vie for the right to host the 2006 conference, which Yu said is "tantamount" to saying that Taipei has won the right.

The Executive Yuan said yesterday that it regrets Beijing's "highhanded political interfer-ence" with exchanges between Asian cities and that it supports Taipei's bid to host the annual ANMC conference.

Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that from what happened to Taipei's bid for hosting rights, one could see the relentless squeezing and isolation attempts by China, adding that Taiwanese people should also transcend their partisan divisions and unite when faced with such suppression.

Chen expressed appreciation for Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara and other attendees who supported Taipei's bid.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who attended the Jakarta meeting, expressed regret at Bei-jing's attitude and expressed appreciation for the support of the other conference members, Yu said.

Yu said the ANMC is mainly a forum for Asian capitals to exchange views on issues relating to city development such as medical care, traffic and technology. Political issues are not relevant, but Beijing brought its dispute with Taiwan to the ANMC meeting by blocking Taipei's bid to win the hosting right, he said.

He noted that in order to solicit the right to host next year's meeting, Taipei submitted its application in July.

According to practice, those who apply the earliest have a priority for hosting the conference the following year. Beijing, however, only applied this month, and then launched a massive -- and ultimately successful -- lobbying effort.

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