The Presidential Office should be relocated to Tainan to balance the nation’s development, Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday, as he argued for the relocation of multiple central government agencies from Taipei to other areas.
Lai outlined a blueprint for national development at a news conference in Tainan, saying that to solve the nation’s uneven north-south development, the administration of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should place its economic, administrative and political centers in the nation’s northern, central and southern regions respectively.
Lai, of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was yesterday joined by Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), also of the DPP, who at a separate event in Taichung said that the Tsai administration should consider moving the Legislative Yuan to his city.
The DPP should not become “prideful” from its electoral victories on Saturday, but instead “rule with humility,” Lai said, calling on five recently elected lawmakers representing Tainan to help “supervise the government” and ensure the realization of Tsai’s campaign promises to develop Tainan.
Specifically, Lai listed Tsai’s proposals to establish in Tainan a southern branch of the Academia Sinica, a green energy technology park, an exhibition center and a southern branch of the National Central Library as key goals for the city government.
Lai also called on Tsai’s future administration to relocate the Executive Yuan’s “vagrant ministries” to southern Taiwan, including moving the Ministry of Labor to Kaohsiung and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to Tainan, and to consider a southern location for the Environmental Protection Administration, which Lai said would help save billions of New Taiwan dollars in rent.
Lai said the Presidential Office should be relocated to his city, citing the historic example of the Republic of Formosa, which in 1895 established its capital in Tainan.
The north should continue to develop as the nation’s “economic center,” while the “administrative center” comprised of the Executive Yuan and Legislative Yuan should be located in the center and the “political center” moved to the south, he said, adding that the scheme would “strike a balance in development through the three centers.”
Moving government agencies and the Presidential Office to the south are programs he had “consistently proposed as a legislator,” and not something that was conceived for Tsai’s presidency, Lai said.
“The high-speed rail turned Taiwan into a single-day commute metropolitan area, and communication between the three centers should not raise any concerns,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lin said that Tsai, upon assuming office, should relocate the Legislative Yuan to Taichung in the interests of balanced national development.
According to Lin, all five branches of the central government and an overwhelming majority of agencies are based in Taipei, which is disadvantageous due to the amount of rent the government must pay to Taipei and from a national security perspective.
Relocating the legislature to Taichung would save the central government money and reduce national security risks, with the added benefit of having the nation’s representative body closer to Taiwan’s geographic center, he said, adding that the Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council is already in Taichung, and that previous talks to move the Legislative Yuan to a cheaper location in Taipei had gone nowhere because of high rent in the capital.
Lin also expressed his optimism toward working with the Tsai administration, saying: “The relationship between the central and local governments is two-way. The new government and legislature will immensely aid central-local cooperation.”
Tsai’s “five social stability projects” — providing affordable housing, safe food products, community-based care, improving the fiscal health of welfare programs and ensuring public safety — are similar to his vision for Taichung, Lin said, adding that Tsai’s national program would complement his plans.
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