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Taipei-Shanghai forum budget to be frozen if PLA patrols continue

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The 2021 edition of the twin-city forum held virtually between Taipei and Shanghai in December. CNA photo Dec. 1, 2021

Taipei, Jan. 25 (CNA) The budget for this year's twin-city forum between Taipei and Shanghai will be frozen if China's military aircraft and ships continue their patrols near Taiwan ahead of the event to be held later this year, according to several Taipei City councilors.

The decision was made by Taipei City Council on Monday following six days of inter-party negotiations to earmark over NT$1.3 million (US$46,930) for the annual event with one condition attached.

The condition put forth by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus is that the budget should be frozen if China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) continues sending airplanes and vessels to areas around Taiwan prior to the opening of the event.

DPP councilors and their Social Democratic Party counterpart Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) initially argued that the budget should be fully scrapped, but this was opposed by Kuomintang (KMT) and New Party (NP) councilors.

After negotiations over the past six days, councilors across party lines reached a consensus and agreed to the proposal with the condition attached.

On a Facebook post, DPP Taipei City Councilor Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑) said the twin-city forum budget, the most contentious item in the city government's 2022 budget, has gained conditional approval from the KMT and the NP.

KMT Taipei City Councilor Wang Hsin-yi (王欣儀) said the party's caucus had wanted to retain the budget, but eventually accepted the proposal with the condition attached, taking into consideration that the PLA's patrols near Taiwan have triggered resentment among Taiwanese people.

NP convener Pan Hwai-tzong (潘懷宗) opined that the twin-city forum should be held if cross-Taiwan Strait relations are good at the time, or cancelled if not.

Municipal data showed that the Taipei City government has budgeted for a total spending of NT$174.532 billion and a total income of NT$171.997 billion for 2022, which were being reviewed by the Taipei City Council.

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