Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) has again become the subject of derision after he suggested turning what he called “a small island in the northwest of Taipei” — the Shezidao (社子島) peninsula — into a free-trade pilot zone.
Lien voiced the Shezidao idea in a new campaign video he posted on Facebook on Sunday that features him chatting in English with a group of foreign residents sitting around a table with lunchboxes.
During the discussion, Lien solicits the foreigners’ visions for and views about Taipei and then offers his thoughts on the ideas. At one point, the idea of establishing a “free-trade area” is brought up and a voice is heard saying that existing regulations on such proposals are “protectionist.”
To this Lien is heard responding that local governments “can apply to [set up a] free-trade zone [in their territory] and I’m thinking that maybe we can use that small island in the northwest of Taipei and apply for [it to be made into one of the zones] because it is 30 minutes away from the city’s downtown, the land cost there is really low and the people there really want development.”
He then adds that it is unfortunate that the draft act for the establishment of free economic pilot zones is stuck in the legislature, “challenged by the opposition parties and some of the pro-independence groups.”
Media personality and political pundit Clara Chou (周玉蔻) on Monday pointed out that the “small island” Lien was referring to is no longer an island, but now forms the tip of a peninsula after land was reclaimed from the surrounding rivers in the 1970s.
“This mistake betrays how alienated Lien is from the city and the municipal administration, as well as how weak his team is,” Chou said.
Shezidao has been neglected for years, but its mayor has just announced a plan to spur development, the first-stage environmental evaluation of which is expected to be completed at the end of the year, Chou said.
“Did Lien do his homework on Shezidao before proposing a complete change to its development plan?” Chou asked.
Former Democratic Progressive Party legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮) said the proposal showed Lien was inattentive toward Taipei and to the draft act for the pilot zones, saying the mayoral hopeful was not enough of a local to understand Shezidao’s limits, but careless enough to not be wary about keeping his distance from a land development company that has been speculating there.
“According to the draft act, the presupposition for establishing a pilot zone is the presence of a sea port or an airport, of which Shezidao has neither,” Kuo said.
The gaffe followed comments Lien made about the city’s “desolate Neihu District (內湖)” as well as fictional oil reserves in Taipei.
Lien drew derision when he described Neihu as “a place without light at night and deprived of convenience stores and traditional markets” and again when he said that if oil began gushing from Taipei, he would “do a better job than Brunei” if elected to head the capital.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
ORIGIN UNKNOWN: The Leofoo Village Theme Park and Taipei Zoo have accounted for their baboons, as authorities continue a 12-day capture attempt Authorities in Taoyuan are searching for a non-native baboon, possibly of the chacma species, that has been spotted several times in the city’s Pingjhen District (平鎮) over the past 12 days, and was most recently seen in coastal Sinwu District (新屋). The baboon was first spotted near a local factory on March 10 in central Taoyuan, Jhensing Borough Warden Huang Chih-chieh (黃志杰) said. Huang said he requested the Leofoo Village Theme Park’s help after a second sighting on Saturday. In other sightings, the baboon raided fruit and vegetable gardens on private property, and has evaded one capture attempt via a tranquilizer dart. Media reported
Taiwan would have established formal relations with Argentina long ago if not for China’s interference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui told US-based Spanish-language online news outlet Infobae in an interview published on Tuesday. Beijing has left behind a string of unfulfilled promises in Latin America, including pledges to build the Grand Nicaragua Canal and airports, docks, ports and industrial zones in El Salvador, he said. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries enjoy pragmatic and improving relations with Taiwan based on cooperation on the economy, culture, technology and science, he said. While Taiwan is “happy to live and let live,”