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Taiwan can contribute to environmental protection: Wei

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government of Taiwan is exploring areas of cooperation with its allies in the Caribbean and Latin America as the world battles with balancing economic development and environmental protection, said a Taiwan environmental protection official.

Minister Wei Kuo-Yen (魏國彥) of the Environmental Protection Administration said the country wants to share lessons learned from its experience with development.

In April, Taiwan and the United States signed the International Environmental Partnership, which paves the way for Taiwan increasing its influence with the global community in the area of sustainable development.

Wei said that Taiwan is considering different areas of involvement with the International Environmental Partnership, but not limiting the options to its diplomatic allies.

“Basically, it will be a regional approach,” he told journalists participating in an eco-living in Taiwan media tour.

“In relation to the Caribbean, there are probably two things we are going to do, one concerns e-waste,” Wei said. “I think the U.S. is very concerned about this and feels that Taiwan's experience can serve as a good example or demonstration to other countries, especially countries in Central and South America, as well as African countries.”

Taiwan's Rigid Environmental Protection Legislation

“The second thing is education,” Wei continued, adding that Taiwan's environmental protection legislation is among the most rigidly enforced in the world.

He further said that Taiwan is considering region-specific projects, such as the possible installation of a tsunami early warning system that would also benefit countries in Southeast Asia.

Wei, who has a doctorate from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, said international cooperation is needed in light of tensions between developed and developing countries concerning blame and responsibility for contributions to environmental degradation.

“We need mutual understanding and Taiwan can play a very interesting role. We have that kind of experience. We have sympathy for both sides,” Wei said.

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