Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Ko to take responsibility for Taipei’s China policy

DIPLOMATIC FUTURE?Despite his many public gaffes, there is speculation that the Taipei mayor may one day have a role at the Taipei-Shanghai forum

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taipei City Government’s working group on Chinese affairs is to be reorganized and made directly answerable to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), city officials said yesterday.

The city’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission chairman Chen Ming-shiun (陳銘薰) said that while the working group responsible for coordinating relations between the city and China was formerly subject to his commission, it would now report directly to the mayor.

The working group would meet next week to discuss policies and an action plan for relations with China, Ko said yesterday.

“I am opposed to secret envoys,” Ko said, adding that he hoped for an “open and transparent” dialogue with China.

Chen said the working group had mainly been responsible for organizing cross-strait events.

However, Ko said it would now serve as a “consultant” body to the city government on China policy.

Ko promised that the body would include a diverse array of figures from the pan-blue and pan-green camps, adding that former International Affairs Committee deputy director Jao Ching-yu (饒慶鈺) would head the group.

Taipei City Government spokesman Sydney Lin (林鶴明) said the group’s organization and membership would differ from that seen in former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) administration, with more details to be announced next week.

Ko’s comments follow a report on Web site Storm Media that group members would include noted cross-strait experts, including former Mainland Affairs Council chairmen Su Chi (蘇起) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Chen Min-tong (陳明通) of the Democratic Progressive Party.

Ko’s China policy has attracted speculation that he might have a possible cross-strait role as an independent politician through the annual Taipei-Shanghai forum.

While Ko has called for an expansion of the forum to include other cities, Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong (楊雄) has said the forum can be held only on the foundation of the so-called “1992 consensus.”

Ko has not expressed agreement with the “1992 consensus,” instead saying that cross-strait ties should move forward on their existing foundation.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a supposed understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both Taiwan and China acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what that means. In 2006, Su said he "formulated" the term “1992 consensus” in 2000 when he was Mainland Affairs Council chairman.

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