《TAIPEI TIMES》 Tsai unveils ‘great south’ plan on development gap
President Tsai Ing-wen, left, and her running mate, former premier William Lai, unveil the “great south, great development” policy aimed at closing the development gap between southern Taiwan and other parts of the nation at their Kaohsiung election headquarters yesterday. Photo: Ko Yu-hao, Taipei Times
CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu again visited Yunlin County, possibly aiming to curry favor with local farmers amid plummeting prices of peanuts
By Ko Yu-hao / Staff reporter
President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） yesterday unveiled the Great South, Great Development policy aimed at closing the development gap between southern Taiwan and other parts of the nation.
The policy would focus on the development of industry, agriculture, transportation and tourism in the south and set development goals, thereby demonstrating the Democratic Progressive Party’s （DPP） resolve to bring prosperity to the region, Tsai, who is seeking re-election as the DPP’s presidential candidate in the Jan. 11 election, told a news conference in Kaohsiung.
She was joined by her running mate, former premier William Lai （賴清德）, as well as Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu （陳菊）, Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai （陳其邁） and DPP Kaohsiung City Councilor Kang Yu-cheng （康裕成）, who heads Tsai’s campaign office in the southern city.
Kaohsiung has transformed from an industrial city to a “marine capital,” Tsai said.
She expressed the hope that development levels in the north and south could be balanced with the help of the Executive Yuan’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, saying that the process must be accelerated.
Although the DPP lost the Kaohsiung mayoral election on Nov. 24 last year, it would not renege on its promise to the city just because there has been a transition of political power, as Kaohsiung has not wronged anyone, she said.
Under the policy, Yunlin County would become the nation’s hub for farming machinery and value-added agricultural and silk products, while Chiayi County would become the headquarters of Taiwan’s tourism, cultural and creative industries, precision machinery and seafood processing.
The policy aims for Tainan to become a high-tech city, while Kaohsiung would become a center of international finance, materials science, marine technologies and circular economy.
Under the policy, Pingtung would focus on the development of agricultural biotechnology, tourism and renewable energy, while outlying Penghu County would set its sights on culture and tourism.
Lai said that the plan would not only balance development in the north and south, promoting unity among Taiwanese, but also solve the problem of “northbound drifting” — a term that refers to people leaving their hometowns in the south to look for work in the north.
Separately yesterday, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu （韓國瑜）, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） presidential candidate, attended a campaign rally at the Yunlin County Stadium to celebrate the launch of a joint campaign headquarters for him and the county’s KMT legislative candidates.
It was the second time since Thursday that Han visited the county, sparking speculation that he wants to curry favor with local peanut farmers as prices of the legumes are plummeting.
A rumor that began circulating on the Internet last month that the DPP administration plans to import peanuts has driven wholesale peanut prices down from at least NT$40 per kilogram to less than NT$30.
Tsai on Tuesday also visited Yunlin to learn about the peanut price situation.
In related news, a group of veterans who are KMT stalwarts yesterday rallied in Taipei, vowing to use their “expertise in political warfare” to monitor the election and ensure that it is not rigged against Han.
Retired general Chen Chen-hsiang （陳鎮湘）, a former KMT vice chairman, called on people to support retired major general Wu Sz-huai （吳斯懷）, a KMT legislator-at-large nominee, to prevent the party’s main base of support from “crumbling.”
Wu sparked controversy when he attended a 2016 event in China to commemorate the birth of Sun Yat-sen （孫中山）, at which he reportedly listened to a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping （習近平） and stood for a rendition of the Chinese national anthem.
Additional reporting by Chan Shih-hung and Shih Hsiao-kuang
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） presidential candidate, center, asks people for their support at an election rally in Changhua County yesterday. Photo: Yen Hung-chun, Taipei Times