Health minister, Taipei mayor share stage despite tensions

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and Health Minister Chen Shih-chung. (Photo courtesy of NOWnews)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Despite previous grievances, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) and Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) shared the stage on Tuesday while promoting the local tourism industry amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Also in attendance, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) headlined this event aimed at promoting “Taipei Double-Decker Sightseeing Buses” (臺北市雙層觀光巴士). 

Local media were curious whether the encounter between Ko and Chen would turn awkward as Ko had consistently criticized the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) which is headed by Chen. 

Ko’s wife, physician Chen Pei-chi (陳佩琪) had also frequently criticized the Minister of Health and Welfare on her social media platforms. 

To address this lingering question, Ko and Chen both stated that it is not awkward for them to share the stage. Chen even stated that if it were awkward, he would have never agreed to come to the event.

Chen said that every time there are new policies, some agree and some disagree. The most important mindset to take into consideration is that despite disagreements, everyone needs to continue to communicate to ensure that there is a balance of opinions, Chen added. 

Throughout the event, they took turns explaining the tremendous impact COVID-19 pandemic had on the tourism industry all across Taiwan.

As a result, they hope that the public can hop on these sightseeing buses and to explore the various attractions in Taipei while also help boost the tourism industry. 

At the end of the event, Chen responded to Chinese-language media saying that he will continue to take appropriate steps to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on Taiwan. 

Ko added that the current pandemic situation will necessitate the government to consider border control measures and to involve the Ministry of Economic Affairs (經濟部) to lessen the economic impact of the pandemic.

He added that local governments will implement appropriate regulations in accordance with the government’s policies.