Premier offers to assist Taichung regain youth games hosting rights

Taipei, Premier Lai Ching-te (???) said Thursday the Cabinet will help Taichung Mayor-elect Lu Shiow-yen (???) if the city seeks to regain the right to host the first East Asian Youth Games.

In a weekly Cabinet meeting, Lai directed the Ministry of Education and Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to provide assistance to Lu, after reading in a newspaper report that Lu, from the opposition Kuomintang, plans to do so, according to Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka.

He also instructed the Tourism Bureau and the MAC to help Kaohsiung Mayor-elect Han Kuo-yu (???) and other local government chiefs in their efforts to attract more Chinese tourists, Kolas said.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered a heavy defeat in the Nov. 24 local government elections held alongside 10 referendums, the results of which indicated voters strongly disapprove of government policies, Lai was quoted as saying.

The government now needs to reflect on its deeds and correct its polices following the referendums and provide necessary assistance to local governments in order to ensure the country continues to move forward, he said.

Taichung was selected to host the first East Asian Youth Games in October 2014 during the 32nd East Asian Games Association Council Meeting in Beijing, China.

However, the city's hosting right was revoked after a vote by the East Asian Olympic Committees in July 2018. That came amid pressure from China due to concerns over a campaign in Taiwan for a referendum on whether the country should apply to participate in all international sporting events and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo using the name 'Taiwan,' rather than "Chinese Taipei" as it has since the 1970s.

Beijing views Taiwan as part of its territory waiting to be reunited and bilateral relations have deteriorated since the pro-independence DPP's Tsai Ing-wen (???) came to power in 2016.

Also Thursday, Lu visited Jason Hu (???), former mayor of Taichung as a provincial city from 2001-2010 and a special municipality from 2010-2014, thanking him for his support during the campaign and asked his advice about the youth games.

Hu, who was responsible for Taichung securing the right to host the youth games originally set for 2019, suggested Lu should seek the full cooperation of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee.

Sponsoring international sporting events will help Taiwan achieve greater exposure and Lu should not give up the chance that Taichung could still host the event, Hu said.

However, it will not be easy for Taichung to regain sponsorship -- the first time the city has organized an international multi-sport event, he added.

According to Hu, the difficulty is that because the DPP controls the central government there are ideological barriers to communicating with China.

The name change proposal was rejected by Taiwan's voters in a Nov. 24 referendum, with 4.67 million voting in favor and 5.77 million against.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel