The country’s representative offices in Hong Kong and Macau will be renamed to reflect their true status and functions, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) announced yesterday.
The office in Hong Kong, which has been known as the Chung Hwa Travel Service, will be renamed the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong from Friday next week.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in Macau will be renamed the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Macau, it said.
Meanwhile, a new Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office will be established in Taiwan, the council said.
During a visit to Taiwan in August last year as honorary chairman of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Cooperation Promotion Committee, Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang (曾俊華) met Taiwanese representatives at the first joint meeting of the committee, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said yesterday.
During the meeting, the two sides reached a consensus on several issues and Taipei said it welcomed the establishment of a Hong Kong representative office in Taipei, the spokesperson said, adding that in recent months both sides had reached agreement on developing a new relationship.
The spokesperson told Xinhua news agency that Hong Kong authorities would appeal to the Hong Kong Legislative Council’s Finance Committee for funding and try to finalize matters relevant to establishing the office in Taiwan as soon as possible.
The spokesperson also said that the office’s functions would be similar to those of its office in China, and would include promoting trade between Hong Kong and Taiwan, increasing investment as well as facilitating cultural exchanges.
The office would also offer services to people from Hong Kong who are in Taiwan, as well as handle visa applications for Taiwanese wishing to travel to Hong Kong, the spokesperson said.
Personnel stationed at the new office would be better able to stay in touch with the relevant authorities in Taiwan to discuss matters pertaining to Hong Kong and Taiwan, creating a more dynamic mode of cooperation between the two, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said that with Hong Kong’s establishment of an office in Taiwan, the Hong Kong government had also agreed to the change in name of Taiwan’s office in Hong Kong.
The name change would reflect the office’s actual functions, the spokesperson said.
Under the same principle, it has been agreed that office personnel would receive special rights, including immunity from local salary taxes and the ability to enter airports and other restricted ports and areas when needing to greet and see off Taiwanese or Hong Kong guests, the spokesperson said.
“We believe that with the increasing interaction between Hong Kong and Taiwan, the scope of work will also increase, as well the work of Taiwan’s representative office in Hong Kong,” the spokesperson said.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER
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