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September 23, 2017

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Kaohsiung's mayor meets premier over post-explosion reconstruction

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) expressed her hopes to turn crisis into opportunity for an industrial transformation for the southern city after her meeting with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday.

Heading to the Executive Yuan for a discussion over the multiple explosions that tore open downtown Kaohsiung, Chen stated that she was grateful to the Executive Yuan for its assistance in the relief efforts after the blasts. Aside from Chen and Jiang, Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳), Executive Secretary-General Lee Shu-chuan (李四川), Minister without Portfolio Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), Minister of Economic Affairs Duh Tyzz-jiun (杜紫軍) and Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) also participated in the meeting.

Jiang and Chen had a phone conversation two weeks ago to discuss mainly rescue and relief operations. It was then that Chen raised the idea of a meeting to discuss the future of the petrochemical industry following the Kaohsiung blasts. This was the first occasion that Chen has left Kaohsiung since the explosions that took 30 lives and injured over 300 others.

"I am thankful for the assistance and support Premier Jiang gave us; the 12,000 military and Coast Guard personnel that joined in the rescue missions and also the Ministry of Economic Affairs' provision of many water pumps that relieved us of the rain-induced floods after the blasts," said Chen.

Jiang in turn praised the Kaohsiung government for its nonstop efforts in recovering the city.

As a city that thrives mainly on heavy industries, Kaohsiung has paid a big price for installing the petrochemical pipelines underground, Chen noted. "But we are expecting to collaborate with the central government in turning the crisis into an opportunity for reform."

Jiang remarked earlier that any assistance available should be provided to the victims of the blasts directly, also asking the Kaohsiung government to periodically report on its usage of the donations. "The management of the private donations will be careful, transparent and made public," Chen responded yesterday.

"I hope that all Taiwanese citizens will support Kaohsiung, no matter in post-explosion reconstruction or medical treatment for the injured; the Kaohsiung government has been trying to piece together its city and the central government will provide all assistance available," Jiang said.

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