Farglory Group (遠雄集團) chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) yesterday called ongoing criticism over the safety of the Taipei Dome project “an unacceptable joke” and urged the Taipei City Government to enter into discussions to end the controversy.
Chao, who shuns the media these days amid allegations of a bribery scandal, issued a statement after subsidiary Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) came under attack over the project’s safety and alleged secret dealings.
Chao ceded the chairmanship to his son last year, but remains head of the conglomerate, which also owns Farglory Life Insurance Co (遠雄人壽), Farglory Hotel Co (遠雄悅來飯店), the Farglory Free Trade Zone (遠雄自由貿易港區), Taiwan Solar Energy Corp (元晶太陽能) and Golden Biotechnology Corp (國鼎生物科技).
“The entire matter has become distorted by politics, something that is terrible and forever beyond my understanding,” Chao said.
Since 2004, Farglory has recruited more than 1,000 architects, engineers and other construction experts from six nations to help design and build the Taipei Dome, a structure which could withstand the harshest of conditions, Chao said.
Chao said that suggestions that the Dome is unsafe or useless are “a joke,” one which he could not accept.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Chao denied being involved in secret dealings with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) during Ma’s time as Taipei mayor to alter contract terms in the company’s favor.
“I met with the then-mayor two or three times briefly as a social courtesy, a fact that all those who were present could verify,” he said.
City councilors have questioned Ma’s decision to allow Farglory to downsize the Dome and increase commercial space, a move that is at odds with the original design.
Chao said the Dome’s floor space measures 149,066 ping (492,780m2) with a volume of 88,629 ping, compared with measurements of 165,195 ping and 96,000 ping respectively as first promised. Chao said that an independent safety inspection by a third party would help resolve any misunderstandings.
“Prior to that, the city government should refrain from criticizing the company and the construction staff,” he said, adding that Farglory would take up the government’s offer of meeting to discuss the project.
FIRST STEP: Business groups in Taiwan welcomed the deal, which does not include tariff reductions at this stage, as they called for the elimination of double taxation Taiwan and the US yesterday signed an initial agreement under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. The agreement was signed yesterday morning by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Managing Director Ingrid Larson in Washington, the Office of Trade Negotiations in Taipei said. The ceremony was witnessed by Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi. Taiwan and the US started talks under the initiative in August last year, after Taipei was left out of the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. “The deal that will be signed tonight is not only very historic,
Beijing yesterday blamed US “provocation” for an incident last week in which a Chinese plane crossed in front of a US surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea. The incident came at a time of frayed ties between Washington and Beijing over issues including Taiwan and the shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US this year. “The United States’ long-term and frequent sending of ships and planes to conduct close surveillance on China seriously harms China’s national sovereignty and security,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning (毛寧) said when asked about the latest incident. “This
‘GLOBAL NETWORK’: The only way to deter a Chinese invasion is for the international community to unite in its resolve, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roy Lee said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roy Lee (李淳) yesterday urged democratic nations around the world to not let Beijing dictate the definition of their “one China” policies, saying that they should increase cooperation with Taiwan to build a resilient democratic network. Lee made the remarks during his speech, titled “Ukraine and Taiwan: Why Global Unity Matters,” at the annual Bratislava Forum in Slovakia. “People in Taiwan have been paying close attention to the situation in Ukraine and admire Ukrainians for defending their homeland. They are [also] fighting for Taiwan and democratic countries around the world,” Lee told forum participants. “The international
HARD-WON FREEDOM: Beijing’s 1989 crackdown on protesters has not been and should not be forgotten, as China tightens its grip on Hong Kong, Lai said Taiwanese enjoy democracy and freedom and have multiple ways to express their creativity, and hopefully young people in China would also one day have the freedom to sing and express themselves, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s bloody crackdown on student-led protests in Beijing in 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident. Tsai posted a photograph taken in March in a subway station in Guizhou, China, where hundreds of young people gathered to sing People With No Ideals Don’t Get Hurt (沒有理想的人不傷心), saying that they