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Taipei 101 tower tops out

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Guest donaltopablo

Taipei tower takes height record

Friday, October 17, 2003 Posted: 10:00 AM EDT (1400 GMT)

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- An office tower in Taipei, Taiwan, has overtaken Malaysia's Petronas Towers as the world's tallest building.

The Taipei 101 tower achieved its full 508-meter (1,674 feet) height Friday, with the addition of a huge metal spike capping the 101-floor structure.

Although the building remains under construction and will not officially open until late 2004, the 60-meter spire pushed the tower's height well above the 452-meter high twin towers in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Taipei's Mayor Ma Ying-jeou says he hopes the new structure will become his city's trademark icon.

"I have no doubt that it can bring Taipei to the world and bring the world to Taipei," Ma said at the tower's topping-out ceremony Friday.

The designers of the Taipei 101 tower say it has been built to withstand typhoons and earthquakes, both of which have struck the Taiwan capital in recent years.

Taiwan, which straddles and active fault line of the western Pacific regularly experiences earthquakes.

High ambitions

In September 1999 a powerful quake of magnitude hit the capital, killing more than 2,400 people and destroying or damaging over 50,000 buildings.

The architects behind the new Taipei 101 tower say it will easily ride out a quake of similar strength, or an even more powerful one.

Malaysia's Petronas Towers: The world's tallest... until Friday.

The completion of the tower's full height comes as many people around the world continue to question the need for soaring skyscrapers in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center (WTC).

Indeed, one future contender to unseat the Taipei 101 from its position as the world's tallest building is the proposed Freedom Tower, designed to replace the WTC.

Although that has yet to get the go-ahead, many New Yorkers say they do not want the tower to be built in their city fearing it will prove a target for future attacks.

Meanwhile Shanghai is continuing work on what may take over from the Taipei 101 as the world's tallest building -- the Shanghai World Financial Center, due for completion around 2008.

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