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Taiwan update

The China News reports the latest developments, and a little politics too.

President Chen Shui-bian said yesterday that Taiwan is not dragging its feet but is “moving forward at a galloping speed of 300 kph.”

The president was referring to the speed of the high speed train when he attended a ceremony sponsored by the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC), builder of the bullet train, to express appreciation for those who took part in planning and constructing the railway. The day was chosen because the northern and southern parts of the original rail system in western Taiwan were connected Oct. 24, 1908.

The president also used the occasion to tout Frank Hsieh, presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, and to pan Hsieh’s rival, Ma Ying-jeou of the main opposition Kuomintang.

Chen said that during Hsieh’s term as premier between 2005 and 2006, he helped bail out the cash-strapped THSRC to enable it to complete the 345-km railway linking Taipei in the north and Kaohsiung in the south.

He touted Hsieh’s resolve, saying that the high speed railway is a major development project and that if Hsieh had chosen to keep his distance and leave the financial problem to the THSRC, the public would not be able to enjoy the convenience of the system today.

“The public will return justice to Hsieh,” he predicted, referring to Hsieh’s controversial use of government-affiliated foundations to bail out the THSRC.

Chen noted that people have recently been saying that “Taiwan is dragging its feet,” but he claimed that if they have the opportunity to board the bullet train, they will witness Taiwan’s progress and development.

He said that conducting smear campaigns and “belittling Taiwan” will not be “a boost to oneself,” an apparent oblique reference to Ma.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

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