Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) Republic of China President Chen Shui-bian said Thursday that the steady progress of the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit System project was "inexplicably exciting," as if he -- a former Taipei mayor--were witnessing the birth of his own children.
Chen made the remarks as a special guest of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou at an inaugural ceremony for the subway's Hsiao Nanmen Line and the Nankang Line's Hsinpu section, which boasts the nation's longest underground cross-river tunnel at 1.9 kilometers.
The Mucha Line--the first section of the subway network to be constructed -- began operating in March 1996, while Chen was still Taipei mayor. Successive lines--Tamsui, Chungho and Hsintien--were completed in the following three years, opening in 1997, 1998, and 1999, respectively. Parts of the Nankang and Panchiao lines also went into service in December 1999.
In his speech, Ma thanked his predecessors for their efforts and said that after seeing the subway systems in many other countries, he feels Taiwan's can rank as one of the best in the world. Ma also urged the central government to provide funding for the continued construction of the subway system.
Chen responded to Ma's request by saying that the central government's budget will continue to worsen if local governments such as Taipei's do not shell out the required amount in national health insurance fees.
Besides, Chen toured the Machangting Memorial Park and encouraged everyone to let the ROC on Taiwan become a new landmark for human rights in the 21st century. As Mr. Bo Yang has said, we can understand, accommodate, and even forgive the wrongs and sins that the government committed in the past. But we definitely cannot forget, for if we do, history may repeat itself, and some events may happen again.