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September 27, 2017

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Taiwan soy sauce becomes new source of ties in Belize

ELMOPAN, Belize--The fragrance of Taiwanese soy sauce has spread to Belize, one of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America, thanks to a Taiwanese technical mission stationed in the former British colony.

Teaching Belizeans how to make soy sauce and cultivate the fungi needed to ferment the soybeans is part of a food program undertaken by the International Cooperation and Development Fund, one of a number of Taiwan sponsored programs that have come under the spotlight during Vice President Wu Den-yih's trip to Belize.

Chu Yu-ying, a Taiwanese who is performing his alternative military service with the technical mission in Belize, believes the food program will not only help increase Belizeans' household incomes but also promote friendship between people of the two countries.

Chu said he remembers thinking how underdeveloped and barren the country was when he arrived in Belize over two years ago.

But the mission, in cooperation with Belize's government, helped change that by organizing soy sauce workshops for women in northern communities, he said.

The mission has by now passed on the know-how and techniques needed to make soy sauce, enabling the local workshops to produce the condiment on their own. They have even started to market and sell it with the mission's help.

Addressing his work, Chu said he helped establish standard operating procedures for cultivating and preserving the fungi needed to properly brew soy sauce and also built a system for buying the needed equipment and devices.

"I'm really happy when I see those who knew nothing about soy sauce becoming skilled and capable in handling the fermentation process without any assistance," he said.

According to the Taiwanese technical mission in Belize, the food processing program, which also consists of offering food processing courses at local colleges and commercializing locally produced dried fruit, is aimed at improving food production techniques and helping create jobs for women living in the countryside.

Vice President Wu was expected to visit some of the projects fostered by the Taiwan-Belize cooperation program.

Wu arrived in Belize Saturday on an overseas trip that began on Aug. 13 and has taken him to New York and to the Dominican Republic to attend the swearing-in of Dominican President Danilo Medina.

On Monday, Wu met with Belize Governor General Sir Colville Young and held talks with Prime Minister Dean Oliver Barrow on how to strengthen Taiwan-Belize cooperation and bilateral relations.

He will leave Belize Wednesday for Los Angeles before returning to Taiwan on Aug. 24.

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