According to CNA, Taiwan’s government press agency, president Chen Shui-bian opened the 2005 Taipei International Cycle Show this morning by praising the domestic bicycle industry for "setting a textbook model for Taiwan companies in their quest for industrial upgrading and business expansion."
Chen recalled his childhood riding a bicycle on adventures as a "fascinating and exciting experience". He said he hoped his grandsons will grow up to enjoy the same happiness as he did as a youngster.
The president encouraged local governments around the world to build more urban cycle paths.
More cycle paths equals more bicycle sales, and more money for Taiwanese bicycle companies. Shui-bian said the efforts of pro-innovation groups such as the A-Team, a collaboration between a number of high-end Taiwanese bicycle companies, had "turned what was formerly a cheap commodity into a high-priced product sold in exclusive shops."
And Taiwan’s success is ripe for the plucking, believes Chinese president Hu Jintao. Ahead of an anti-secession law likely to pass during a parliamentary session tomorrow he said China would never tolerate Taiwan’s independence.
According to Reuters, the law sets out the circumstances under which China could attack Taiwan to stop moves towards formal independence.
"We will continue to make our greatest efforts with the utmost sincerity to seek the prospects of peaceful reunification," president Hu said earlier today.
"Tremendous and complicated changes have taken place on the Taiwan island in recent years, and the intensified activities of the ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist forces have posed a grave impact on the peace."
Such sabre rattling is the norm for the region but this time there does seem to be more belligerence than usual.
Many Taiwanese bicycle companies have factories on the Chinese mainland so have feet in both camps.
The Taipei cycle trade show has 2019 booths from 620 companies from 29 countries. The show is 20 percent bigger than last year.
Tomorrow, 40 pro cyclists from around the world – but mostly from Asia – will take part in the Taipei International Elimination Road Race on a 1.6 km circuit around the show, which is being held at the Taipei World Trade Center Hall.
PIX:Krien Dawson of Vario Bikes of France.