Fri, Oct 25, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Han denies vow to install flag platforms on peaks

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday denied promising to install flag-raising platforms on all of the nation’s mountains with peaks 3,000m or higher after the proposal sparked controversy.

The idea was suggested by a person at a meet-and-greet event held by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate in Chiayi County on Wednesday.

The person said that the nation’s peaks are popular sites for celebrating the New Year and that erecting flag-raising platforms would be a good way of promoting the national flag, to which Han replied: “It must be done.”

When asked about the idea in Yunlin County yesterday, Han said that reports about the event were incomplete.

He said he had replied on the spot that installing flag platforms on mountains with peaks 3,000m or higher would be “impossible.”

Before building a platform on a peak, many factors have to be taken into consideration, such as soil conservation, its effect on the scenery and if there are any roads, he said, adding: “That is just too difficult.”

If a peak already has a flag platform and it has been poorly maintained, then he would consider repairing them, he said.

“As for the rest, it would have to depend on the situation,” he said.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday wrote on Facebook that “people should get close to nature, instead of trying to conquer it.”

“A national flag is meant to represent a country, not used as a tool for political show,” she said, while posting a picture of her hiking with other people in Dawushan (大武山) in 2012 and a link sharing the Executive Yuan’s policy announcement on Monday removing restrictions on public access to many mountains and forests.

Building flag-raising platforms on high peaks is impractical and would damage the natural environment, she wrote.

Asked about Han’s proposal, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) expressed astonishment, saying the proposal would damage the ecology, especially after the Cabinet had lifted restrictions on public access to mountains and forests.

It is little wonder Han has come under criticism from mountain-climbing enthusiasts, he said, urging Han to be more perceptive as a presidential candidate and not give in to sloganeering.

Alpine Association secretary-general Luo Hung-an (羅弘安) on Wednesday said that Han’s proposal was ridiculous and unnecessary, as most mountaineers hope to preserve the natural environment.

Additional reporting by Sean Lin and Chien Hui-ju

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