時論廣場》蔣萬安的城市國際化策略(方恩格)

時論廣場》蔣萬安的城市國際化策略(方恩格)

臺北市政府不應只被動依賴觀光局等中央政府機構來做城市行銷,應該採取主動之姿。建議落實「城市外交三不策略」:不出國、不視訊會議、不受外媒採訪。圖爲2022 ITF 臺北國際旅展。(攝/景義婷)

「#雙語教育、#外國觀光客、#城市國際化、#外商投資、#市政外交」這些熱門關鍵字在剛結束的地方選戰文宣中隨處可見,尤其是各縣市長候選人都極力強調想「跟國際接軌」的迫切,必須要打出幾張「國際牌」才能不落人後。身爲新任首都市長的蔣萬安首當其衝呼喊要「讓世界走進臺北」,但與其高喊一些令人朗朗上口的口號,筆者更樂見蔣市長能替臺北市的居民改善日常生活環境議題(如交通、住房、大巨蛋完工等),否則鑑於前車,絢爛如煙火的國際化大餅,不久後很可能會淪爲曾經金玉其外的蚊子館。

以下筆者就臺北的國際化方針,在此獻策予蔣市長:

一、提升城市外交的交流品質:筆者仔細觀察了過去城市外交的執行,認爲政府官員的出勤時間可以花在更有意義的城市建設與規畫上,而不是花上大把時間與他國城市官員開視訊會議,然後發新聞稿。這些視訊會議重量不重質,若真要說這些視訊會議有什麼功用,大概就是幫助這些與會首長的選民成績單記上一筆「出口轉內銷」的形象分數,上了新聞、有跟國際人士對話,看起來像是「有在做事」。

臺北市過去如拉業績一般,陸續洋洋灑灑與50多個外國城市簽下了「姊妹市」、「夥伴市」、「友誼市」、「友好城市備忘錄」、「友好合作備忘錄」等友好城市關係,多締結一個新歡城市,該任市長的外交成績單就能記上一支功。如果蔣市長上任後想與現有的友好城市做出更深的交流,可能需要請益時間管理大師該怎麼做。

而縣市級首長率團出國做市政考察也不是太聰明的做法,很多民衆視之爲「以考察之名、行出國旅遊之實」。2018年3月時任高雄市市長陳菊訪美(回國幾天後她就請辭高雄市長而赴任總統府秘書長一職),她在華盛頓會見當地的臺僑組織,並在智庫CSIS做了關於臺灣民主化與人權發展的演說,但她在演說中連結治理高雄或高雄市政的相關性,實在牽強。而柯文哲市長在臺北市長任期內訪問了以色列、荷蘭、日本、新加坡等國,這些旅行也惹出不少爭議。

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在此提醒縣市長們在任期內要出國必須三思,雖然他們也有權休假,但如果剛好休假出國旅行時臺灣發生了天災人禍、沒在第一時間趕到現場指揮,也可能會落人口實。所以身爲縣市首長還是別跑太遠爲上策。

此外,縣市級的外交活動若缺乏縝密計劃,也很可能淪爲政治對手的攻擊武器。2019年時任民進黨立委餘宛如發了英文推文指出:布拉格市長不應與臺北市締結友好城市,因爲市長柯文哲「親中」(pro-Beijing)。來自臺灣內部自己起鬨的國際公開抨擊,當時比起柯市長,最尷尬的應該是布拉格市長。

二、力推臺北的賣點:縣市級單位不應只被動依賴觀光局等中央政府機構來做城市行銷,應該採取主動之姿,但很可惜筆者親眼見證了臺北市政府將城市行銷資源白白付諸流水。2020年筆者很榮幸應臺北市廣播電臺FM93.1之邀主持一檔廣播節目,當時節目部與筆者興高采烈討論此節目的構想,爲以英語來向國際聽衆介紹臺北市政府各部門的業務、功能、或活動,好讓民衆更瞭解臺北市政府的運作,並進而推廣臺北市的生活資訊、產業環境、觀光宣導等舉措,加上討論城市國際化議題、並創造雙語環境。然而就如許多的公共政策與建設一樣,雖然企畫周詳,但很可惜後繼無力。原本預定派出上節目訪談的市府各部會都一一出缺或婉拒,身爲主持人的筆者到後來必須自己一一打電話找來賓來上節目。不久後,電臺亦告知希望筆者改以中文主持此節目。這或許是臺灣所說的「滾動式調整」?總之此節目的初衷到了後期已經煙消雲散,令從頭參與到尾的筆者不勝唏噓。

三、舉辦國際規模的活動賽事:這不但能讓臺北具有國際聲量,也能讓世界更認識臺灣。雖然也有反面聲量批評這類賽事主要是爲了拿到主辦權的市長面子加分,且在地居民可能不會太喜歡看到市政預算被花在舉辦炫目的活動上。但放眼過去臺北市所舉辦的一些國際活動與賽事,如2009年夏季聽障奧林匹克運動會、2010年臺北國際花卉博覽會、2017年夏季世界大學運動會、2025年夏季世界壯年運動會等,這些成功的國際活動都能讓遠道而來的外賓、外媒更認識臺北,對於城市國際形象能大大加分。

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四、避開外媒:外國媒體若有機會採訪蔣萬安市長,他們最大的興趣會落在蔣家家族歷史或臺海關係,而不會把焦點放在他的市長身分,畢竟臺北市政府的教育、住房或交通等政策,不會是他們感興趣的重點。也鑑於許多臺灣政要在接受外媒採訪後引發爭議,事後還要出來澄清或道歉,或者有的政治人物爲了證明自己英文夠好能接受外媒採訪,但卻畫虎不成反類犬出了一些尷尬的狀況(如近期中國國民黨朱立倫主席接受德國之聲的採訪急着離席)。以英文母語者的角度,筆者雖然感謝他們試着用英文表達的心意,但仍衷心建議蔣市長避免接受外國媒體採訪,就算真的接受了訪問,筆者知道蔣市長的英文程度極好,但也最好使用中文受訪。

五、增加國民外交機會:每當有外國人士公開表達對臺灣的喜愛或支持(或者說臺灣的食物很好吃),臺灣政府與民間都會特別開心。有趣的是,他們特別重視「從外國來的」挺臺言論或誇讚,但對於居住在臺灣本地的外籍人士似乎沒有特別喜愛。可能這就是所謂的「外國的月亮比較圓」?但其實這些外國人選擇來到臺北居住,都代表了他們對這個城市的選擇與許諾,他們或許更能作爲臺灣與他國之間友好橋樑。

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2022年筆者與臺北市政府、消防局籌備數月,展開了一項招募外籍居民擔任臺北市義消的合作計劃。時值臺灣四處對於國防與民防意識日增,筆者認爲由政府提供外籍居民參與義警或義消的機會,就外交、國防,以及臺北的國際化與文化多樣性方面多有益處,也能提供外籍居民爲臺北貢獻一己之力、參與公衆事務的機會。

若新任的臺北市府團隊想要推廣臺北的國際化,建議蔣市長可參考筆者的「城市外交三不策略」:不出國、不視訊會議、不受外媒採訪。若蔣市長能勤於市政、腳踏實地好好規畫執行臺北的日常市政治理,這將會是對臺北最好的國際宣傳。筆者深信臺北絕對有潛力打敗其他城市,成爲亞洲首屈一指的國際化首都。

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After the Local Elections: A Foreign Policy for Local Governments?

By Ross Darrell Feingold

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Former Asia Chairman, Republicans Abroad

Twitter: @RossFeingold

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Bilingual Education. Foreign Tourists. Internationalization. Multinational Corporations Investment. Municipal Diplomacy.

These are some of the buzzwords that candidates for municipal leaders in the recent local election repeat as if they have an international fever that compels them to do more “foreign stuff”. Although many municipal leaders are infected with this fever, the new Taipei City Mayor Wayne Chiang Wan-an might, because Taipei City is the capital, feel compelled to undertake many such initiatives. In reality, these kinds of activities are not why he was elected mayor, so, hopefully Mayor Chiang will focus on the things that need to be done to make Taipei City better on a day-to-day basis and avoid the “international fever”.

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In this regard, here is my advice to Mayor Chiang:

1. Recognize the Limits of Municipal Diplomacy: Frankly, this author views most municipal diplomacy initiatives as a waste of time. Videoconferences between Taipei with municipal officials in cities far away to learn how they do something with and is often quantity over quality or attempts by politicians to gain positive overseas media coverage (what is known in Taiwan as “First Export, Then Re-Sell Domestically”. By way of example, Taipei City has over 50 sister, partner and other bilateral relationships with cities worldwide. If Mayor Chiang can engage with so many of these sister cities, he would be what Taiwanese call a guy who is a “time management master”.

Similarly, overseas travel often gets municipal leaders in trouble, because they are seen as leisure travel packaged as “inspection” tours to learn how to improve municipal governance in Taiwan. In March 2018, then Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu visited the United States (days before she formally resigned to become the Presidential Office Secretary General) and in Washington DC met Taiwanese expatriates organizations and delivered a speech at think tank CSIS mostly about Taiwan’s democratization, activities that didn’t help improve the governance of Kaohsiung City. Mayor Ko’s trips to Israel, Netherlands, Japan and other locations often resulted in negative rather than positive media coverage. Taiwan’s municipal leaders are entitled to holidays (including one overseas if they so decide), though whether for official travel or personal travel there’s the risk of being outside Taiwan when a natural or manmade disaster occurs.

Mayor Chiang should keep in mind that his municipal diplomacy initiatives might be attacked by his political opponents. In 2019, then Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Karen Yu tweeted in English that the Prague Mayor should not establish sister city ties with Taipei City, because Mayor Ko Wen-je is “pro-Beijing”.

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2. Recognize the Good Things Taipei Has, and Market Those: Taipei City cannot rely on central government agencies such as the Tourism Bureau to help market the city to tourists or investors. Unfortunately, Taipei City government agencies also fail to do a good job marketing the city. In 2020 this author I was asked to host a radio program on the city-operated radio station, FM93.1, Taipei Broadcasting Station. The initial understanding was that the show would be in English (to promote bilingual education and internationalization) and that the content of the program would be to explain to audiences in Taiwan and outside Taiwan good things the Taipei City government has achieved, upcoming events organized by the Taipei City government, and to generally explain what makes Taipei City a great place to live, work or visit. Unfortunately, city government agencies lacked the resources to accommodate requests for English-language interviews.

3. Positive Attitude Towards International Events: A good way to show Taipei to the world is to successfully execute international events. Although these events are often criticized as vanity projects for the mayor who decided to bid for hosting rights, and the budgets are hard to justify when there are other priorities for those who live and work in Taipei City. Regardless of any controversy, Taipei City has a history of generally successful international events including the 2009 Summer Deaflympics, 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition and the 2017 Summer Universiade. Most visitors to Taipei for these events had a positive experience, and international media coverage was generally positive. A similar upcoming event is the 2025 Summer World Masters Games jointly hosted by New Taipei and Taipei City, which is a great chance to showcase Taipei.

4. Don’t Do Foreign Media Interviews: The main interest foreign media will have in interviewing Mayor Chiang is to ask about the Chiang family history and China-Taiwan relations. They certainly do not want to interview him about the details of Taipei City government education, housing, or traffic policies. In addition, there are many examples of Taiwan politicians having to clarify after a foreign media interview what they said because their answers to the foreign reporter’s question resulted in domestic controversy. Sometimes this occurs when the Taiwan politician tries to show off their English language ability and accepts the interview in English only for the interview to become a disaster like what recently happened to Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Eric Chu. My advice would be to do no foreign media interviews, but if he does, then do it in Mandarin not English notwithstanding Mayor Chiang speaks English well.

5. Foreign Residents Are Also Great Ambassadors: This author previously opined that Taiwan’s central and local government agencies have an odd habit of valuing foreigners who live outside Taiwan and make some gesture to show support for Taiwan over the foreign population resident in Taiwan. The Taipei City government can do more with the resident foreign community, who by their decision to live in Taipei City have demonstrated their commitment to this city. In 2022 this author spent months working with the Taipei City government and fire department to launch a program to welcome foreign residents to serve as volunteer firemen. At a time when many are asking what can they do to contribute to “civil defense”, this initiative offers foreign residents a chance to participate at the municipal government level, and would also demonstrate Taipei City’s diversity.

If the incoming Taipei City government wants to show how international Taipei is, Mayor Chiang Wan-an and his team don’t need to travel overseas, have video conferences with foreign city governments, or do foreign media interviews. Focus on day-to-day municipal governance, which can generate great publicity for Taipei City versus capitals in Asia that are still struggling with covid or other issues.