President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) scheme to “bump into” Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore this weekend is unlikely to impact the Jan. 16 elections, and Ma is in a poor position to attempt to “write history,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.
Ko weighed in on the upcoming Ma-Xi meeting at the sidelines of a meeting with the city’s borough wardens.
Ko said the Presidential Office should have announced the meeting earlier, as it is a major national affair.
“It would have been better if the meeting had been made public earlier to allow time for discussions and form some kind of consensus,” Ko said.
Ko said that Ma’s trip to Singapore is different in nature from his own trip to Shanghai to attend the Taipei-Shanghai forum, and that Ma, as the head of state, would most likely face issues about sovereignty — for example how the nation is addressed — during his meeting with Xi.
“The forum focused on collaborations between Taipei’s and Shanghai’s healthcare systems, so I was able to eschew these issues. However, as president, he probably would not be able to dodge them,” Ko said.
He said considering Ma’s soon-to-end term and his appalling approval ratings, “we can only hope that he will be discrete,” adding that having confirmed news about the meeting so abruptly, Ma should provide a clear explanation of what he intends to achieve.
On a concern that the Ma-Xi meeting could boost the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) campaign prospects by boosting the morale of its supporters, Ko said that past studies suggest it would be highly unlikely for a party to win after trailing by more than 10 percent in the polls.
He said it is unnecessary for Ma to “write history” in an attempt to boost his legacy.
“I often tell myself it is future generations that define one’s legacy. One does not need to worry about such things while they are still alive,” Ko said.
Asked to comment on a likely handshake between Ma and Xi, Ko said: “Xi Jinping will just have to pray for his own sake,” prompting chuckles.
Netizens have described Ma’s handshake as a “death grip,” bringing bad luck, citing a list of foreign dignitaries who had accidents shortly after meeting the president.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,