TAIPEI (CNA) – The twin-city forum between Taipei and Shanghai that opens in Taipei on Thursday will focus on economic issues and showcase the concept of a circular economy as its theme, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said Wednesday.
The two-day forum, which has been held annually by the two cities since 2010, has sparked controversy because of China’s aggressive suppression of Taiwan in the international community, but Ko said that as long as the forum concentrates on economics rather than politics, it was unlikely to trigger disputes.
Ko was responding to comments by Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), head of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan’s top agency in charge of relations with China, who said earlier Wednesday he hoped the forum would not create political problems.
Chen said city exchanges across the Taiwan Strait are consistent with MAC policies and he therefore looked forward to seeing the forum between Taipei and Shanghai proceed smoothly and yield positive results.
Ko agreed, saying the forum should put more attention on economic affairs “so that the event generates fewer disputes and proceeds more smoothly.” Zhou Bo (周波), executive vice mayor of Shanghai, arrived at Taipei Songshan Airport at around 11:30 a.m. at the head of a 135-member delegation to attend the forum.
He and his delegation were greeted by protests by pro-independence activists outside the airport.
Zhou is taking part on behalf of Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong (應勇), who was unable to attend because of a tight schedule.
The Shanghai official said upon his arrival that the twin-city forum is the most important mechanism for exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, and he expected it to allow his delegation to meet new friends and gain new knowledge.
Shanghai has launched a plan to position the city as a global hub in the financial, shipping and technology/innovation sectors by 2035, Zhou said, and he was looking forward to his delegation and its Taipei counterpart sharing their experiences in urban development.
In view of the theme of this year’s forum, Taipei Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) and Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission Vice Director Zhou Qiang (周強) will deliver key-note speeches focusing on the circular economy, according to the city government.
Other issues to be covered will be related to cultural development, environmental protection and urban renovation and the two cities will also sign three memorandums of understanding on cooperation, the city government said.
After his arrival Wednesday, Zhou visited power management solution provider Delta Electronics Inc., one of Taiwan’s biggest high-tech companies.
On Wednesday night, Taipei will throw a dinner banquet to welcome the Shanghai delegation.
By Liang Pei-chih, Miu Tsung-han and Frances Huang