President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has yet to make a final decision on the redrawing of the country’s administrative borders, a Presidential Office spokesman said on Saturday.
Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) was responding to reports by the United Daily News (UDN) that to upgrade the nation’s international competitiveness, Ma would redraw the country’s administrative borders to include three metropolitan areas and 15 counties — from 23 cities and counties and two special municipalities — after a meeting with government agencies on Friday.
The three metropolises would revolve around the cities of Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, the report said. Taipei would be a merger of Taipei City, Taipei County and Keelung City, while Taichung City and Taichung County would be merged and Kaohsiung City would be merged with Kaohsiung County.
The 15 counties would be Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Changhua, Nantou, Yunlin, Chiayi (a merger of the present city and county), Tainan (a merger of the present city and county), Pingtung, Ilan, Hualien, Taitung, Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang, the reports said.
Wang said Ma was briefed by the Ministry of the Interior on Friday, but added that “the matter is still being assessed.”
Wang also denied that the possible redrawing was to cater to a plan to merge Taichung city and county into a single administrative district, which the Cabinet said earlier could be completed by 2010.
Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) said that if the objective of three metropolises and 15 counties were implemented, his county would be willing to abide by the policy.
He said, however, that the central government should coordinate with local governments to clearly define their respective rights and obligations.
Asked for comment on the UDN report, Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財), who has expressed the hope of merging his city with Tainan County and seeing it upgraded to a municipality, expressed disappointment about the possible redrawing.
Hsu said that as a cultural center the city played a major role in Taiwan’s history and that “if its status is downgraded, the government would be committing a sin.”
Also See: EDITORIAL: No to backroom policymaking