Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he never lied about informing the government before making a controversial speech at the annual Taipei-Shanghai City Forum last year.
In the speech in July last year, Ko said that the “two sides of the [Taiwan] Strait are one family” and are “a community with a shared destiny,” sparking controversy.
He later said that he had sent a draft of that speech to the National Security Council (NSC) before leaving for Shanghai, but did not receive a response.
The Presidential Office and the NSC have both denied receiving a draft of the speech beforehand, and Ko last month said that the two controversial phrases were added into the manuscript after he sent it to the council.
The International Federation of Journalists last week alleged that the city government silenced a reporter who discovered that the phrases were not included in the original script and intended to publish the information in June.
At the Taipei City Council yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Wu Shih-cheng (吳世正) said Ko claimed to have sent a manuscript to the council without clarifying that the controversial phrases were not added.
“Being ‘deep green’ is my background, but the most beneficial thing for me as Taipei Mayor to do for Taiwan at present is to continue exchanges between the two cities,” Ko said. “So saying that the ‘two sides of the Strait are one family’ does not contradict my being ‘deep green.’”
“I only said I sent the manuscript to the NSC, but never that the phrases ‘the two sides of the Strait are one family’ and ‘a community with a shared destiny’ were included in it,” Ko said, adding that he had not silenced the reporter or ordered officials to do so.
Ko has been lying all along and should apologize to the NSC, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the reporter who was allegedly silenced, KMT Taipei City Councilor Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) said.
“Don’t arbitrarily accuse someone of lying,” Ko said in response. “You should apologize for the accusation.”
Taipei City Government spokesman Liu Yi-ting (劉奕霆) said it is his job to speak for the city government in response to news stories, but the city government would not interfere with the freedom of press, nor harass or intimidate media workers.
Liu offered to apologize if his communication with the media made reporters uncomfortable.
Asked by DPP Taipei City Councilor Ho Chih-wei (何志偉) whether he discussed the reporter’s news story with her superiors, Liu said that he did not contact her superiors on that particular story.
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