The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday detailed the timeline of events leading up to its joint news conference with the Taipei City Government on Friday last week in response to accusations from Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) that the center tried to “set him up.”
Ko in an interview on Wednesday with Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) said that the CECC only notified him of the news conference at Huannan Market (環南市場) 30 minutes in advance.
Only after he arrived and found so many officials present and prepared did he realize that he had been “lured into a trap,” Ko said.
Photo: Yang Hsin-hui, Taipei Times
In response to the confirmation of 41 COVID-19 cases linked to the market in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) on Friday last week, the CECC said it decided to convene a news conference on that day at 11:30am to unveil a joint command mission with the Taipei City Government.
At 9:45am, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, called Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) about the event, it said.
Huang transferred the call to Ko, who agreed with Chen on creating the joint command, it added.
At about 10am, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) called Huang twice, in the second call specifying that he, Chen Shih-chung and Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) would be attending the news conference, it added.
After Chen Chi-chung invited Huang to attend, she said Ko would also be attending, the CECC said.
At 11:01am, Taipei City Government spokeswoman Chen Chih-han (陳智菡) notified the media of the event, saying that Ko and Huang would be present, it said.
At 11:20am, Ko and Huang arrived at the market, it added.
The news conference was held to explain response measures to market vendors, workers and residents, not to “set a trap,” it said.
Ko in the interview with Jaw also claimed to have a list of Presidential Office staff who had been vaccinated, which he vowed to publicize “in due time.”
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee De-wei (李德維) lent his support to the threat, saying that Taipei’s records could expose the preferential vaccination of many top officials and their loved ones.
Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said that all qualified staff had gotten vaccinated based on expert recommendations and proper procedures.
Vaccines are crucial to the pandemic response and national security, and to protect the president and vice president, he added.
Asked by Jaw whether he would run for president in 2024, Ko said he only needs to make an announcement if he does not run, but he would not force the issue.
Upon leaving office next year, he would still have 13 months until the election, Ko said, adding that he would first focus on finishing his current tasks.
Ko said that he would be open to cooperating with the pan-blue or the pan-green camp, depending on the terms, but that discussion would need to wait, since Taiwanese politics changes by the day.
Ko suggested that the Democratic Progressive Party is intentionally stirring up anti-China sentiment as the issue is politically popular.
Ninety percent of people consider themselves to be Taiwanese, so “Taiwanese independence” is not worth discussing, he said.
However, independence is a real issue, and maintaining the “status quo” is the only option, he said.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng and CNA
921 EARTHQUAKE: The magnitude 7.3 quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged The Central Weather Bureau yesterday received about 50,000 views on Facebook after it posted the data that it collected on Sept. 21, 1999, when the nation was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The data showed that the 921 Earthquake hit the nation at 1:47am, with the epicenter being 7km southwest of the bureau’s quake detection center in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池) at a depth of 8km. The quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged, with the cost of the damage estimated at NT$300 billion (US$10.8 billion at the current
British newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported that Prince Charles met with Bruno Wang (汪家興), a Taiwanese fugitive who describes himself as a Chinese philanthropist and donated ￡500,000 (US$683,522) to the prince’s charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The newspaper reported that Wang is wanted in Taiwan on charges related to money laundering and being a fugitive from justice, allegations he denies, and drew comparisons between Wang and the Russian banker Dmitry Leus. Investigation and cooperation with foreign authorities have found that Bruno Wang’s father, Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), had stashed proceeds from a scandal involving the procurement of Lafayette frigates in 61 bank accounts,
AT ODDS: The KMT called on the government to seek bilateral dialogue with Beijing to resolve the issue that led to the ban on custard apple and wax apple imports Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and lawmakers yesterday condemned China’s sudden ban on imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan as “obvious political retaliation,” while the opposition called for a scientific investigation into Beijing’s claim to have found pests in imports of the fruits. China earlier yesterday announced a ban on the importation of the two fruits from today, citing repeated discoveries of Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug. The announcement follows a similar ban on Taiwanese pineapples imposed in February. At least Beijing gave a few days’ notice when it banned pineapple imports, an unnamed government official said yesterday. This time
BY OTHER MEANS: China could see CPTPP membership as a means of circumventing trade restrictions imposed by the US, amid an ongoing trade dispute between them The US could invoke a clause in its trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to block China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a government official said yesterday. Under Article 32.10 of the Exceptions and General Provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if either Canada or Mexico enter a free-trade agreement with a nonmarket economy — such as China — the US could withdraw from the agreement. “If that clause applies to multilateral free-trade agreements such as the CPTPP — which Mexico and Canada are members of — that might be cause for the two