President Tsai unveils growth roadmap for southern Taiwan

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President Tsai unveils growth roadmap for southern Taiwan.

President Tsai unveils growth roadmap for southern Taiwan. (CNA photo)

In a government statement that doubled as a campaign policy presentation President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced a development roadmap for southern Taiwan on Saturday, less than a month before Taiwan's 2020 Presidential election, in which she is hoping to be re-elected.

The government will close the developmental gap between northern and southern Taiwan through four strategies, Tsai said at a press conference attended by former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德), her running mate in the upcoming election.

Firstly, the government will step up industrial clustering to attract more domestic and foreign investments, Tsai said, citing semiconductor, defense and shipping industries as major growth engines.

Secondly, she said, the government will connect southern Taiwan, especially Kaohsiung, to other parts of Taiwan and the world through the underground railway project, mass rapid transit system extension project and the upgrade of Kaohsiung International Airport.

Thirdly, upgrades to agricultural industry through new technology, producing more good quality agricultural products and exports; and lastly, stimulating the economy through tourism and assisting industry transformation with policy, Tsai said.

She emphasized that Taiwan should take advantage of the opportunities offered by United States-China trade conflict and other international dynamics to further economic development and attract investment to southern Taiwan, to create jobs and revive consumption.

Traditionally, Taiwan is divided into north and south by the Chuoshui River. For so many years, people in the south have complained that the government focuses more on the development of the north.

Tsai pointed out that she is aware of the unbalanced development over many years, saying the government has made corrections though more needs to be done.

At the same press conference, Tsai took a swipe at her rival in the 2020 presidential election -- Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) -- observing that "someone who fails to keep his commitments" fails the people of Kaohsiung.

Han, the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT) presidential candidate, has been on leave from his office since Oct. 16 to focus on his presidential election campaign.

The Kaohsiung people gave the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) three decades to develop the city, but Kaohsiung is now the most indebted city in Taiwan, Han said, adding that thousands of holes appear on the roads whenever it rains.

"Who really owes the people of Kaohsiung an apology?" he asked.