Taipei mayor to meet Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office chief

Taipei City Government informed MAC of sudden change in schedule

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Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (front, left) visited ...

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (front, left) visited ... (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) would meet the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office chief Liu Jieyi (劉結一) Friday (July 5) at 5 p.m. at a hotel in Shanghai, according to media reports.

The city government had apparently informed the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) about the sensitive meeting, which was only added to Ko’s itinerary Friday noon, reports said.

Earlier, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) emphasized that cross-straits relations belonged to the authority of the central government, while the twin-cities forum between Taipei and Shanghai which Ko was attending the past three days was clearly part of the local domain.

The outspoken Taipei mayor, who is widely believed to be preparing his candidacy in next January’s presidential election, infuriated many former supporters by repeatedly emphasizing he saw Taiwan and China as “one family.”

Before the news of his meeting with Liu became known, he told reporters that he would not go out of his way to discuss national issues like unification or independence with Chinese government officials.

The MAC had criticized Ko for describing the Taipei-Shanghai forum as “the only official platform for communication” between Taiwan and China, raising the suspicion that the mayor was trying to represent all of Taiwan and risking to damage the island’s interests.

On Friday, Ko visited a Taiwanese school, a temple and a hospital in the city of Kunshan, a popular Chinese investment destination for Taiwanese businesses near Shanghai.

In talks with reporters, Ko emphasized exchanges between the Taiwanese capital and other cities, including Shanghai, on how to promote creativity and innovation, a city government news release said. The mayor also praised Taiwan as a society more diverse than Japan and as an example of democratic development for the region.