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No answer from China on invitation to city forum: Kaohsiung

2016/08/24 15:42:22

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (front row, center right).

Kaohsiung, Aug. 24 (CNA) None of the five Chinese cities invited to an international forum organized by Kaohsiung have provided a response on whether they will attend the event, the city's Deputy Mayor Hsu Li-ming (許立明) said Wednesday.

Kaohsiung sent out invitations to Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xiamen and Fuzhou in June for the Global Harbor Cities Forum it initiated and will host Sept. 6-8, but the five cities have neither confirmed nor rejected it, Hsu told reporters at the city's press conference held for the forum.

During the press event held with the forum's sponsors, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said 47 cities in 25 countries have confirmed their attendance of the three-day event that will cover issues such as industrial transformation, marine tourism and sustainable development.

With the exception of Shanghai, the mayors or deputy mayors of the four other Chinese cities have traveled to Kaohsiung when the southern port city hosted the Asia Pacific Cities Summit in 2013, and the city government approached the Chinese cities in the same manner this year, Hsu said.

He said the city holds a constructive and friendly attitude toward China and seeks to narrow the gap between the two sides by encouraging exchanges.

A day earlier in Taipei, Shanghai held its annual forum with the northern city, the seventh since it was launched but the first after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power in May.

In a city council session on May 31, Chen said she is willing to visit China to promote the forum and invite her Chinese counterparts, as she did in 2009 for the World Games and in 2013 for the cities summit.

Chen was the first local government head from the DPP to visit China in 2009, after her party lost the 2008 presidential elections, and the trip paved the way for visits by other local government heads of the party.

China suspended official dialogue with Taiwan after the DPP regained power with the May 20 inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), whom Beijing blamed for creating the rift by refusing to recognize the "1992 consensus."

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit agreement reached between Taipei and Beijing in 1992 that there is only "one China," with each side free to interpret what that means.

On Aug. 13, Chen said it would fall short of everyone's expectations if the situation across the Taiwan Strait remains "stuck," and the two sides should strive to establish common ground despite their differences, when she responded to reporters' questions about a lack of a response by Chinese cities to Kaohsiung's invitation.

(By Wang Shwu-fen and Kay Liu)
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