Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Group says next president should select new capital

STAFF WRITER WITH CNA

A group in Tainan promoting the relocation of Taiwan's capital to the south said on Wednesday that the next president should relocate the capital and designate its new location, a spokesman for the group said.

The spokesman urged cities and counties in southern and central Taiwan to establish similar organizations to promote the cause. However, he also urged local governments in those areas to try to forge a consensus on the relocation issue as soon as possible instead of jockeying for power.

The group, with Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) of the Democratic Progressive Party as its convener, is composed of local officials, city councilors and individual activists.

The idea of relocating the capital from Taipei has received a warm response from local authorities, with Taichung, Chiayi, Chiayi County, Kaohsiung and Kaohsiung County all showing a high degree of interest.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said recently that the government would begin studying the possibility of relocating some government agencies, such as the Council of Labor Affairs and the Council of Agriculture, to better serve people in southern Taiwan before considering relocating the capital.

A number of pro-independence groups in Kaohsiung have urged the Ministry of Education and the Council for Cultural Affairs to move to Tainan, where they said Taiwan's traditional culture and rites were well preserved.

The groups argued that it was very important for the two government agencies to be relocated to in Tainan, which they called the historical home of Taiwan's culture, in order to preserve the nation's unique culture and traditions.

According to these groups, most of the bureaucrats at government agencies in Taipei have a Chinese mindset and the city has long been besieged by Chinese influences.

They argued that firmly establishing a government focused on Taiwan after more than 50 years of Chinese rule should be a major campaign issue in the coming elections.

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