KMT election rival urges Tainan mayor to be rational toward China
Central News Agency
2014-06-05 10:26 PM
Taipei, June 5 (CNA) The ruling Kuomintang's candidate for the 2014 Tainan City mayoral election said Thursday that Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te should look at exchanges and interactions with China from a rational perspective, and set aside his Taiwan independence ideology, as the mayor was set to depart for Shanghai Friday on a two-day visit. Hsieh Lung-chieh, the head of the KMT's Tainan chapter, who will run against Lai of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the Tainan mayoral election in November, said that if Lai wants to improve relations with mainland China, he should urge DPP legislators to allow substantive reviews of a cross-strait trade-in-services agreement and a bill on proposed free economic pilot zones (FEPZ). Hsieh said that Lai had actively pushed to include Anping Harbor in the city into the FEPZ plan, but changed his position on the issue over concerns that the plan could endanger Taiwan's sovereignty. Hsieh said Lai's "see-saw policy" toward China could hurt city residents' interests. He said that Lai has the responsibility to give an explanation to the city's residents on the policy shift. He also urged Tainan residents to demand that Lai come up with pragmatic plans for city development. Hsieh added that while President Ma Ying-jeou's efforts in improving relations across the Taiwan Strait has received high acclaim from most people in the country, it was not well-received by the DPP. On the one hand, the heads of DPP-ruled local governments are eager to promote their agricultural products to China and attract Chinese investors and tourists by taking advantage of the Ma administration's China policy; on the other hand, they spurn the policy in public. Meanwhile, Lai said the planned trip comes at a time when conditions are ripe and that as the city mayor, he will do anything that was good for the city. Lai noted that he has made his travel itinerary public and has reported to the DPP headquarters about his travel plan. The China trip -- Lai's first as Tainan mayor -- has been organized to promote the southern city, said Chao Ching-huei, head of Tainan's information department. Lai is the only DPP local government chief who has not yet visited China. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, Yilan Magistrate Lin Tsung-hsien, Yunlin Magistrate Su Chih-fen, Chiayi Magistrate Chang Hua-kuan and Pingtung Magistrate Tsao Chi-hung have all been to the mainland. Such visits are significant partly because of the DPP's pro-independence policies. On Friday, Lai will preside over the opening ceremony of an exhibition of paintings by the late Taiwanese artist Chen Cheng-po, at the China Art Museum in Shanghai. (By Chang Jung-hsiang, Y.F. Low and Evelyn Kao)
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