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Taipei mayor repeats claim that Taiwanese and Chinese are part of one family

Mayor Ko Wen-je attended opening of Taipei-Shanghai Forum, echoing Shanghai Mayor's remarks

(L-R) Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong (Source: CNA)

(L-R) Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong (Source: CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) repeated his contentious claim that the Taiwanese and Chinese are part of the same family at the opening of the Taipei-Shanghai Forum on Thursday.

Taiwan and China should try to understand and respect one another while seeking cooperation based on “mutual trust” and the idea that “people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one family,” remarked Ko on Thursday in Shanghai. First proposed by Ko in 2017 at the same forum, the statement is deemed by some critics as pro-Beijing and as potentially marring national integrity.

Ko’s statement followed similar remarks made by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong (應勇) at the forum. The Chinese mayor also promised that the government of Shanghai would provide equal treatment to Taiwanese living in the city for study, work, and business.

Ko did not make any surprising comments regarding cross-strait relations this morning, and his remarks are being regarded as erring on the side of caution. Speaking with the media after the opening ceremony, Ko said that his statement expressed a gesture of goodwill, emphasizing that “the overall interests of Taiwan and the well-being of Taiwanese people remain our primary principle.”

The Taipei mayor, who could be a strong contender in the presidential election next year, has not yet confirmed whether he would run for president. Nevertheless, he has traveled across the island nation in recent months to meet with local leaders and communities in an apparent attempt to gain their support.

Many believe Ko’s visit to China, scheduled from July 3-5, is crucial as the mayor is likely to make a decision on whether to run for president after the trip.

In his opening remarks at the forum, Ko mentioned “peace” and “cooperation” five times each. He said Taiwan and China’s differences should not hinder cross-strait collaboration and exchanges.

Hailing the Taipei-Shanghai Forum as the only official channel of communication between Taiwan and China, Ko said he would continue promoting peaceful development between the two sides based on an existing “political foundation,” without specifying what that was.

In a later interview, he denied that the “political foundation” he referred to was the “1992 Consensus.”

China suspended contact with the Taiwan government after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office in 2016. Beijing blamed Tsai for not willing to accept the “1992 Consensus,” which includes the idea that there is only one China.

Updated : 2022-05-22 05:30 GMT+08:00