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September 22, 2017

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Ma's former aide will promote integration of Keelung and Taipei

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) yesterday announced that he will work on promoting a potential merger of Keelung City and Taipei City and added that he will not run in the Keelung mayoral election.

Lo denied his intention to run in the Keelung mayoral election several times over the past year. When Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰), Keelung City Council Speaker and Kuomintang mayoral candidate for the city, was taken back to the Keelung District Prosecutors Office for questioning over alleged bribe-taking, Lo again denied that he would run in the election.

Lo on Monday said via Facebook that he has decided to "run for something." He said, however, that he is not running for Keelung mayor and instead plans to "run for a more meaningful matter."

Lo on Tuesday held a press briefing in Keelung, saying that the city should be a "glorious pearl." He said that he established a fan page to promote the potential merger of Taipei City and Keelung City and he hopes that citizens will join his efforts to work on the merger.

When asked to clarify the meaning of "running for a more meaningful matter," Lo reiterated that he will not run for the position of Keelung mayor. Lo said that although who will be the next mayor of Keelung matters a lot, he thinks that to complete the merger of Taipei and Keelung is more important than who is mayor.

Lo said his proposal will definitely benefit Keelung City's development, but it may not benefit the mayoral election. He urged politicians who wish to seek the post of Keelung mayor to let go of their desire for power and truly fight for the better future of Keelung.

Pan-green independent candidate in the Taipei mayoral election Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday responded to Lo's proposal, saying that such an issue should not be a "campaign slogan."

Ko further said that it is not a new topic that the administration areas across Taiwan need to be adjusted, noting that, however, such an issue should be discussed without "too many political calculations."

KMT Taipei mayoral nominee Sean Lien (連勝文) was quoted by his spokesman Chien Chen-yu (錢鎮宇) as saying that Taipei, New Taipei and Keelung have already become an integral living perimeter for Greater Taipei residents.

Chien said the merger of the three cities is the trend for the future, adding that, however, the potential merger involves a lot of issues and needs to be planned carefully. He said the public's opinion on the issue is also a significant factor in the potential merger.

KMT lawmaker George Hsieh (謝國樑) yesterday released a press statement saying that he is grateful to see someone who shares the same thoughts on the merger of Taipei and Keelung.

Hsieh said he has been working on the issue and running between the Taipei and Keelung governments over the past two years. Finally, the merger proposal has attracted citizens' attention and gained the public's understanding, he said.

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