City and county representatives attend Strait Forum in China despite Taiwan government's warning

Beijing continues to utilize the forum to promote its political agenda, said MAC

Deputy Taipei Mayor Teng Chia-chi (Left) and Taipe...

Deputy Taipei Mayor Teng Chia-chi (Left) and Taipe...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Four city and county representatives traveled to China to attend the Strait Forum, which includes week-long conferences and events aiming at promoting exchanges and “integration” of Taiwanese and Chinese people, on Saturday (June 15), despite warnings from the Taiwan government.

Deputy Taipei Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) is the only municipal representative on the island to attend the opening of the forum, which was held in Xiamen City. Having taken part in the forum for three times over the years, Teng emphasized that his attendance at the forum would be concentrated on exchanges.

His participation will not involve matters that “concern the central government,” said Teng. The Taipei City Government said the deputy mayor would only attend the opening ceremony.

At the end of May, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the top government agency handling cross-strait affairs, issued a statement, suggesting local government officials and representatives refrain from attending the Strait Forum.

Beijing continues to utilize the forum and side events to promote its political agenda, including the “one country, two systems” formula for Taiwan and political negotiations that will risk Taiwan’s sovereignty, said the statement.

The government “will not be pleased” to see local government officials or delegates participate in the forum, added the statement.

Apart from the deputy Taipei mayor, Penghu County Magistrate Lai Feng-wei (賴峰偉), Kinmen County Magistrate Yang Cheng-wu (楊鎮浯), and Lienchiang County Magistrate Liu Cheng-ying (劉增應) also took part in the forum.

All of the leaders of Taiwan’s outer islands said they will not discuss politically sensitive issues with the Chinese authorities. Instead, they will primarily focus on cooperation in such areas as tourism and the fishing industry.

The forum, which lasts until June 21, was also joined by Director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Liu Jieyi (劉結一) and Wang Yang (汪洋), chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on Saturday.

In addition to local government officials, a 15-member delegation from the Kuomintang (KMT) and a five-member delegation from the People First Party also departed on Saturday for Xiamen City for the forum.