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Kaohsiung mayor reserved on 'petrochemical zone'

Whether or not a specialized petrochemical zone should be set up in Kaohsiung is something that needs to be discussed with the citizens of Kaohsiung, the city's mayor, Chen Chu (陳菊), said yesterday.

Between late July 31 and early Aug. 1, a series of gas explosions ripped apart several streets in Kaohsiung, resulting in 30 people dead and more than 300 injured. Chen attended a funeral of one of the victims yesterday and expressed her condolences.

Chen told reporters that Kaohsiung will conduct an assessment of its petrochemical pipelines and the safety risks they pose, adding that her city will continue to work with the central government.

The Cabinet is currently considering a proposal to demarcate a petrochemical zone in Kaohsiung to avoid having pipelines running through populous areas. The project would relocate existing petrochemical facilities, which are scattered throughout the city, to a designated area. According to local reports, the central government is considering reclaiming 400 hectares of land off the coast of Kaohsiung to construct the zone.

When asked, Chen gave a reserved response, saying that the subject needs to be discussed with the citizens of Kaohsiung.

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Inspectors with the Ministry of Economic Affairs conduct a test to check if a pipeline has corroded in Kaohsiung, yesterday. The government is conducting a comprehensive reassessment of underground pipelines in the wake of the deadly gas explosions in the southern port city.

(CNA

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