A local marine shipping company announced on June 25 that a mini-three links between Kaohsiung and Wenzhou in China have begun operation. Kaohsiung Tourism Director Pan Heng-hsu was also present at the launch ceremony. However, it was later found out that the maritime route has not been approved by the central government, therefore Pan apologized for controversy and said that the visit was personal and didn't attend as a government official.
A number of VIP are getting ready to cut the ribbon to launch the opening of a new mini-three links between Kaohsiung and the Chinese city of Wenzhou. Kaohsiung Tourism Director Pen Heng-hsu and KMT city councilor Huang Chao-shun are among the guests. The ceremony has drawn questions as to whether the city of Kaohsiung is allowed to open up a maritime transportation route with China.
The Mainland Affairs Council believe (the launch of the maritime route) is a deceitful political move. It only creates this appearance of bringing in business opportunities for the locals. Both the Qijin Harbor in Kaohsiung and Wenzhou City's Dongtou Harbor cannot serve as a hub for mini-three links. There's no chance for the route to work.
The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said that the maritime route opened with no permit, and that the shipping company in question has disbanded earlier on June 12. The MAC said that the company's two ships were berthed at the harbor, and did not sail away, and that the ceremony could be an orchestrated event to create a fake impression. Pen Heng-hsu clarified the situation saying that he attended the launch ceremony in private and he was not representing the Kaohsiung government.
As to whether (the launch of the new maritime route) is legal, all the officials attended through legal channels. In the future, I'll verify the nature of similar activities before attending.
It was only a trial run. We didn't say we have opened up a new route that connects to Dongtou Harbor (in Wenzhou, China).
Pen Heng-hsu does not believe his attendance to the launch event was a problem, and that he apologized for drawing criticism to Kaohsiung City government. On the other hand, legislators of the ruling DPP criticized the event and sues Pen Heng-hsu for violating the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and Mainland Area.
All his actions represent the Kaohsiung City government, and he is close with (Kaohsiung) Mayor Han Kuo-yu. Without Han's commission, he couldn't have promoted the new maritime route connecting both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
The city councilor has called on the legal department to examine the situation, since opening up a maritime transportation route is the job of the central government. KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun, who also attended the ceremony, said in a Facebook post that she is sorry for not verifying the nature of the event before attending.