UK representative office to launch a campaign for closer ties with Taiwan
By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post
June 6, 2014, 12:05 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The United Kingdom's representative office in Taiwan is scheduled to launch a series of events in the coming months to promote closer exchanges between Taipei and London in different fields, the UK's top envoy to Taiwan announced yesterday.
Speaking during a press event in Taipei, Chris Wood, director of the British Trade & Cultural Office (BTCO) said bilateral relations between the UK and Taiwan have been going smoothly over recent months through commercial, diplomatic and policy exchanges as well as trade and investment work.
"UK exports of goods to Taiwan increased 7.8 percent year-on-year in 2013 to 1.16 billion pounds, the second highest level in history. And the pace has picked up: UK goods exported to Taiwan increased 17.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter in 2014," Wood noted.
Several British officials have also visited Taiwan in recent months, including Lord Mayor of the City of London Fiona Woolf, who visited Taipei in January, and Sir David King, UK Special Representative for Climate Change, in February.
Woolf was in Taiwan to focus on bilateral opportunities for financial and professional services collaboration in areas including offshore RMB business and London listings, while King was here to promote climate change issues, he noted.
Looking forward into the future, Wood said that the BTCO will be holding a series of events in the months to come to promote closer exchanges, including a UK food festival scheduled to be held this coming October to better familiarize locals with British foods.
"British food really is a lot more interesting, inventive and tasty than we are often given credit for," he added.
The office is also organizing two trade missions to Taiwan later this year, specifically on renewable energy and the rail sector, to enhance the business opportunities emerging from Taiwan's major infrastructure projects.
Envoy Reiterates UK's Opposition to Capital Punishment
Meanwhile, speaking during the press event, the British envoy reiterated the UK's stance on opposing the death penalty in Taiwan after the country executed five death row inmates this April.
"On the human rights front, we welcome the steps Taiwan has taken in recent years to improve its judicial structures and practices.
"But here we have a key point of difference: we continue to oppose the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, and to urge our partners all over the world to join what is a clear global trend towards abolition."
BTCO represents UK interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.