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Ex-Tainan head says 'ready' for capital election

TAIPEI--Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party said Sunday prior to departing on a trip to China that he is “ready” to run in the Taipei mayoral election in 2014.

Hsu said Taiwanese cities have lost their competitiveness because of their lack of “internationalization” and “distinguishing features,” and one of the main purposes of his trip was to learn more about “urban development planning” in Shanghai.

Asked if he intends to run in the Taipei mayoral election in view of his concern for the competitiveness of Taiwan's cities, Hsu said he was “ready anytime.”

Hsu, who served as mayor of Tainan in Southern Taiwan from 2001-2010, said Taipei receives too much money from the central government and criticized it for being careless in managing its budget.

He said Tainan had a total budget that was roughly the same as that for Taipei's Department of Social Welfare, yet the city still managed to develop cultural tourism to attract more Chinese tourists.

Taipei, a stronghold of the pan-blue camp headed by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), has been run by KMT mayors since 1998.

During his eight-day trip to China that will take him to Shanghai, Beijing, and Xiamen, Hsu will attend seminars with Chinese scholars on urban development and will also meet with representatives of financial regulatory agencies.

The former Tainan mayor declined to reveal who invited him to China or who organized the seminars.

When asked if he plans to meet with Chinese officials during his visit, he said the individuals slated to attend the seminars so far are scholars and experts in their related fields.

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