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DPP Taipei mayoral aspirant vows to remove Songshan airport

2017/12/17 21:36:33

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yao Wen-chih (姚文智)

Taipei, Dec. 17 (CNA) Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yao Wen-chih (姚文智) announced Sunday his intention to run in the Taipei mayoral election next year, pledging that if elected he will remove Taipei Songshan Airport, which he described as a "tumor" impeding the development of the city.

"I will run because I want to turn Songshan airport into a park," Yao said in a speech given to announce his candidacy for the position of Taipei mayor.

Yao was elected as a national legislator from Taipei in 2012 and 2016. A long-term advocate for the relocation of the Songshan airport, he said in Sunday's speech that removing the airport will allow Taipei to regenerate.

The proposed removal would involve up to 3,000 hectares of land, he said, noting that once developed the area could accommodate housing valued at NT$7.1 trillion.

The mayoral aspirant vowed to do away with the airport, located in the heart of downtown Taipei, and develop part of the area into a "Central Park" for Taipei if elected.

If elected in 2018, he would launch an international competition for the design of the park in 2020, close the airport in 2022, and begin construction of the park in 2023, Yao said.

If he failed to follow through on this promise after being elected, Yao joked he would "put up a tent on the runway at Songshan airport and let airplanes run over it."

Incumbent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who has made clear he intends to seek reelection, said the previous day that he supports the relocation of the airport but reiterated that such a decision is the responsibility of the central government.

Responding to Ko's remarks, Yao said any mayor of Taipei should do everything possible to persuade the central government to change its policy.

Yao's participation in the Taipei mayoral race is expected to affect the reelection of Ko, who won the mayoral election in 2014 running as an independent with the support of the DPP.

In the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), former Cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) announced on Sunday her decision to seek the party's nomination for the mayoral election.

Her decision follows earlier declarations by former Presidential Office Deputy Secretary General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強), former lawmaker Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and Taipei City Councilor Chung Hsiao-ping (鍾小平) that they also intend to run.

(By Yu Kai-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu)
Enditem/AW