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Taiwan and Hungary sign a joint agreement for athletic exchanges

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's Olympic committee signed a partnership agreement with their Hungarian counterpart last month to enhance closer sports exchanges between the two countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

The agreement was signed by Hungarian Olympic Committee President Zsolt Borkai and Taiwan's Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee President Thomas Tsai (蔡辰威) on Nov. 18 in Taipei, MOFA's Department of European Affairs Director-General Zhang Ming-zong (張銘忠) told reporters yesterday.

The partnership agreement opens up a new chapter of sports exchange and cooperation between the two countries, he said during a regular news briefing.

The agreement was signed following a Taiwan-Hungary Sports Forum held in Taipei on Nov. 15 and 16.

As one of the world's leading sports powerhouses, Hungary left the 2012 London Olympics with eight gold medals, finishing ninth in the overall medal standings.

Taiwan, which competes under the name Chinese Taipei, only won a silver and a bronze medal in London.

Zhang said Taiwan hopes the agreement can help the country's athletes improve their performances at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, as well as the 2017 Universiade in Taipei.

Sports exchanges between Hungary and Taiwan have a long history, MOFA said. Both sides signed a similar agreement in 1990, but the pact expired in 2000.

Zhang also said yesterday that Taiwan is close to signing a reciprocal working holiday agreement with Hungary.

Taiwan has been in negotiations with Hungary over the agreement and bilateral discussions on the program have reached their final stage, Zhang said yesterday.

“Both sides have completed negotiations (on the agreement),” said Zhang.

According to Zhang, under the program, both Taiwan and Hungary would each offer an annual quota of 100 working holiday visas for young people aged 18 to 35 to work in the other country for a period of up to one year.

Once realized, Hungary would become the fifth European country with Taiwan has signed a similar pact with, in addition to Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Belgium.

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