Thu, Jun 20, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Forum fully booked by councilors, Ko says

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je talks to reporters before a municipal policy meeting with borough wardens at the Zhongshan District Office yesterday.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he heard that the slots for Taipei city councilors’ to sign up for this year’s cross-strait twin-city forum have all been filled, amid calls by some councilors that he should not cohost the event with Shanghai if he wants to run for president.

Although the Taipei City Government has dismissed speculation that this year’s forum is to be held next month, Ko has said that city officials would visit Shanghai this month to discuss details of the forum that is expected to be held in the Chinese city this year.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) yesterday reported that Taipei City Government Deputy Secretary-General Chen Chih-ming (陳志銘) on Tuesday left for Shanghai to discuss the forum.

Several city councilors across party lines have suggested that the forum be suspended this year, saying it would be bad timing as Hong Kongers have been holding massive protests against a plan to amend a law to allow extraditions to China, that it would be inappropriate for Ko to attend the forum if he plans to run for president next year and that the forum has not been helpful in improving Taiwanese livelihoods, the report said.

Asked about the councilors’ advice, Ko said it was strange, because he was told that the quota for city councilors to attend this year’s forum was fully booked.

He added that participating in the forum is not a problem for him, because he has not said he is running for president.

“There are so many conflicting issues in Taiwan every day, but people should keep their heads clear and do what needs to be done, despite other people feeling conflicted,” he said.

Ko was also asked about a report published by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit on Tuesday, in which it said it expects President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to win next year’s presidential election by a narrow margin against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

The report said it expects Ko not to join the presidential race, but if he did, Tsai might lose to Han, as Ko would split the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vote.

“The forecast is a judgement made according to current information, but the biggest variable has not appeared yet,” Ko said. “I have always been the unexpected one.”

Asked if he might cooperate with the DPP again, Ko said there are many aspects to cooperation, just like Taiwan can work with the US on the economic aspect and work with China on another aspect.

Asked about the possibilities of a cooperation, Ko said: “We’ll see.”

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