Representative of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, David Yung-Lo Lin, writes on the anniversary of the 105th National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
On 10th October 2016 we celebrated the 105th National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The Republic of China was founded on 10 October 1911 and is the oldest republic in Asia. Today, our country has become a vibrant democracy boasting an advanced high-tech economy and an open society.
Earlier this year, the people of Taiwan elected a new president, Ms Tsai Ing-wen. Indeed, the 2016 presidential election was a historic event for Taiwan, marking the third peaceful transfer of power in the country as well as the first time that a woman was chosen to serve as head of state. So in many ways, 2016 has opened a new and important chapter in Taiwan’s history.
NEW PRESIDENT: CONTINUITY IN FOREIGN POLICY, NEW ENERGY
Despite the change of leadership, Taiwan’s foreign policy remains fundamentally unaltered. Nevertheless, new momentum has been injected with the adoption of the New Southbound Policy.
As President Tsai has stated, our foreign policy will be guided by efforts to fulfil our duty as a citizen of the world and contribute towards diplomatic and global issues, and to bring Taiwan closer to the world, and the world closer to Taiwan.
Taiwan is certainly committed to implementing steadfast and pragmatic diplomacy to consolidate relations and promote reciprocal partnerships with diplomatic allies and likeminded countries.
Taiwan will continue to actively pursue meaningful participation in major international organisations and mechanisms such as APEC, the WTO, the WHA, ICAO and the UNFCCC, so as to fulfil our responsibilities on the world stage. Moreover, we will coordinate our efforts with domestic and foreign NGOs to provide humanitarian assistance and contribute to international cooperation.
Meanwhile, Taiwan will strive to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the Asia-Pacific region. By making our voice heard on issues of common concern such as climate change, disease prevention and counterterrorism, Taiwan will play its part as an indispensable partner of the international community.
On the economic front, Taiwan is one of the top-20 economies in the world in terms of external trade, outbound investment, high-tech industry, competitiveness, innovation and GDP. Taiwan will use its strengths in all of these areas to promote economic and trade cooperation with other countries. Our government will particularly focus on five major innovative industries: an Asian Silicon Valley, biomedicine, green energy, smart machinery and defence.
TAIWAN-UK RELATIONS: STRONG FOUNDATION
Taiwan-UK relations have grown stronger in recent years across an array of important areas.
Trade and investment continues to expand year by year; the number of bilateral agreements has increased; exchanges between our peoples have flourished; and mechanisms for dialogue between governments and business have been strengthened.
Taiwan’s investment in the UK increased to US$1.76 billion (£1.26 billion) in 2015, and the UK is currently Taiwan’s primary investment destination in Europe. In 2015, bilateral trade continued to grow to US$5.6 billion (£4.3 billion), making the UK Taiwan’s third-largest trading partner in Europe.
And following Taiwan’s inclusion in the British government’s visa-waiver programme in early 2009, the number of Taiwanese visitors to the UK increased by 100 per cent to approximately 67,000 in 2014.
Moreover, the establishment of the annual Taiwan-British Ministerial Consultation on Economics and Trade, the Taiwan-British Business Joint Meeting, as well as the Renewable Energy Roundtable Forum, has demonstrated the substantive development on economic cooperation.
TAIWAN-UK RELATIONS: OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD
Since my arrival in London less than two months ago, I have been greatly encouraged by the breadth, depth and diversity of the Taiwan-UK bilateral relationship.
Looking ahead to the future, I hope to further strengthen economic cooperation between our countries and pursue a free trade agreement (FTA) and bilateral investment agreement (BIA). I also aim to enhance bilateral collaboration on renewable energy, especially offshore wind power, so that Taiwan can learn from the UK’s successful experience and world-class achievements in this area.
Finally, I would like to conclude my remarks by thanking all those who have worked so hard to ensure the continued development of our bilateral relations. I am delighted to be in London at such an interesting time, and I very much look forward to working with you in the years ahead.