Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday rejected a New Taipei City Government press release asserting that he had reached a consensus with New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) on “working together” to attract funds earmarked for the central government’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project.
The New Taipei City Government yesterday issued a press release saying the two municipalities had arrived at an agreement to jointly request financing for three New Taipei City-led Mass Rapid Transit System (MRT) metropolitan railway construction projects following a meeting on Friday between New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Yeh Hui-ching (葉惠青) and Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基).
The MRT construction projects for which the two municipalities have agreed to submit joint budget requests are a line from New Taipei City’s Shijhih District (汐止) to Taipei’s Minsheng District (民生), stage two construction of the Wanda line and a circular line, New Taipei City said.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The municipalities also agreed to ask for funds to upgrade New Taipei City’s Bali Wastewater Treatment Plant and to build a water pipeline from the Beishih River (北勢溪) to the Jhihtan Water Purification Plant to prevent murky water emerging from taps in Taipei and New Taipei City during typhoons, the New Taipei City press release said.
“I find it strange that they issued this press release. What consensus?” Ko, on the sidelines of an event to promote the Summer Universiade, said in response to media queries for comment on New Taipei City’s statement.
Ko, an independent, is scheduled to attend a hearing at the legislature tomorrow to discuss draft bills for the project.
Ko said the purpose of his visit to the legislature is to explain the city’s needs for funds to build public infrastructure.
A source from the Taipei City Government said Ko was “displeased” after seeing the press release, as details regarding the two municipalities’ respective development plans needed further discussion and it is implausible that an agreement would be announced so soon.
Ko felt that Taipei had been “taken advantage of,” the source said.
Chu later responded to Ko’s remarks, saying that the issues discussed by Yeh and Teng are important to the 7 million residents of Taipei and New Taipei City, and the use of the word “consensus” did not matter if the two municipalities can work together on those goals.
Asked if he felt that Ko had “taken an indirect dig” at him, Chu said: “Mayor Ko can say whatever he wants as long as it makes him happy.”
Chu, who had not planned to attend tomorrow’s hearing, seemed to change his mind and said that he too would visit the legislature to convey New Taipei City’s need for funds.
In other news, Ko on Friday evening held a closed-door meeting with Shanghai Municipal Taiwan Affairs Office Director Li Wenhui (李文輝).
Asked what they discussed, Ko said they talked about logistics for the Taipei-Shanghai Forum in June.
Asked to expand on his comment in an interview that “problems will arise” during the Universiade if Beijing does not release Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), Ko said that since tensions across the Taiwan Strait are high and Taiwan and China have a low level of mutual trust, both sides should avoid provoking each other.
The Lee Ming-che issue could inflame tensions, which could spell trouble during sports competitions, as evidenced by an International Ice Hockey Federation match in Taipei last month that ended in a brawl between Taiwanese and Chinese players.
Asked if he had conveyed his thoughts to Li Wenhui regarding Beijing’s handling of the case, Ko said he had.
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number