Tue, Jul 18, 2017 - Page 3 News List

China registers athletes for Universiade

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Universiade Organizing Committee spokesman Yang Ching-tang (楊景棠) confirmed that China has registered 110 athletes for individual sports, but Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said they might only be China’s second-string sportspeople.

Amid rising tensions in cross-strait relations and the registration for the Summer Universiade ending tomorrow, doubts had been expressed that China would not send athletes to compete in the games.

On Sunday evening, Yang said that China applied to register 180 people, including 110 athletes, to compete in individual sports, including track-and-field events, fencing, taekwondo, table tennis, weightlifting and martial arts.

However, the final situation would only be confirmed after registration ends, Yang said.

Yesterday morning, asked whether China’s registration application was made out of respect for him, Ko said: “Mainland China was sure to attend the Universiade, the only difference is the size of their delegation, because it is a great world power and would definitely not be absent from such an important event.”

He said when he visited Shanghai earlier this month, Chinese officials told to him that the Summer Universiade used to be held in June or July, but with the games being held in August this year, it would clash with the dates of the National Games of the People’s Republic of China.

“I am embarrassed to say this, but I am afraid their best athletes would participate in their national games and they would only send their second-string athletes [to the Universiade],” Ko said.

Meanwhile, during an interview streamed live at noon yesterday, Ko was asked whether President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would attend the Universiade opening ceremony.

He said he discussed the issue with a few Chinese officials and the International University Sports Federation and told them that Tsai must attend as the “president.”

China might not register for team competitions to express its dissatisfaction with the state of relations, he said.

“I feel like in the past year, under Tsai’s administration, both sides of the Taiwan Strait have been raising demands and challenging each other,” Ko said. “Now Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation and the Mainland Affairs Council do not even communicate.”

Improving cross-strait relations would not substantially improve Taiwan’s economic situation, but it affects the public’s feeling of stability, he said.

“Taiwan and the Mainland both have their standpoints and persist in them,” he said. “However, why does the Mainland upset Taiwanese? Because it cannot help using its hard power on us.”

He gave examples including an incident involving Taiwanese K-pop singer Chou Tzu-yu (周子瑜), the nation’s exclusion from a World Health Assembly meeting, the detention of human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) and Panama cutting diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Citing a historic war strategy of “ambushing from 10 sides, but leaving one side of the net open,” Ko said China is now squeezing Taiwan’s space in the international community from all sides, leaving no way out.

“Is it our fault that we are getting closer to the US?” Ko said, adding that China should think about why Taiwanese can communicate with Chinese in Mandarin, but seem to be friendlier with the US.

China should see that using hard power on Taiwan does not bring about good results, Ko said, adding that Taiwan should use its soft power to demonstrate to China its more noble values.

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