Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) Kuomintang (KMT) presidential nominee Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) on Thursday proposed a mobility-based model for his presidency, which would see him spend much time in Kaohsiung to oversee the development of southern Taiwan.
The candidate made the comments at a youth presidential forum, in response to an audience member who asked if voters could trust Han, given his decision to step away from his duties as Kaohsiung mayor to run for president.
In response, Han defended his performance as mayor, but said he had faced partisan obstruction which convinced him that he could do more for the city as president.
Referencing the city's troubled finances, Han said "Kaohsiung City Government is NT$330 billion (US$10.8 billion) in debt, and pays more than NT$2 billion annually in interest," adding that his efforts to secure funding for the city from the (DPP-held) central government have not only been rebuffed, but used to smear him politically.
Noting that the south still lacks a modern international airport, Han said "the vitality of southern Taiwan has not been developed. For a long time, the north has been valued at the expense of the south."
To correct this imbalance, Han said that presidential duties could be "remotely managed," allowing him to spend time in Kaohsiung focusing on the development of southern Taiwan, while the vice president and Premier remain in the north.
Despite the commitment, it was not clear from his remarks how much time Han would spend in the region if elected.
At another point in the forum, Han was asked about his claim that he had secured private sector commitments to invest NT$2 billion in youth entrepreneurship.
Fact-checkers have noted that as of the end of November, the donations fund of Kaohsiung's Youth Bureau listed contributions of just over NT$25 million.
Han responded that in addition to a city government investment of NT$300 million, the banking industry has committed to donating NT$750 million, while corporations had made verbal commitments to invest NT$2 billion.
Han said his goal was to raise NT$10 billion for the Youth Bureau, which began operations on Oct. 1 this year, a project he launched as mayor.
Thursday's presidential forum was the second in a series of three organized by the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy, in which the top candidates in the Jan. 11 presidential elections face questions from young voters.