Tue, Nov 23, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan's envoy in UK comes home

CNA , London

Outgoing Taiwan Representative to Britain Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂) departed London with his wife on Sunday for home, concluding an almost three-year stint as the nation's top envoy in the UK.

Tien departed with praise from Taiwanese expatriate community members in Britain and with a high degree of recognition from political and diplomatic circles in both the UK and Europe.

Over 50 Taiwanese and British friends saw the Tiens off at the airport.

During his time in office, Tien scored several "record" achievements in his efforts at strengthening Taiwan's friendship with the UK and Europe and at broadening Taiwan's diplomatic horizons.

Tien's most recent achievement was inviting 26 parliamentarians from 20 European countries who have been friendly toward Taiwan to establish the "Marco Polo Club," and convening the club's first general meeting on Taiwan-related issues. These included how to facilitate Taiwan's participation in important international organizations.

Last week, members of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group bid farewell to Tien and his wife at a reception held at the House of Commons. It marked the first time that members of the British parliament had held a farewell reception at Westminster for an envoy from Taipei.

Thomas Cox, one of the co-chairmen of the parliamentary group, raised a motion in the House of Commons to request that it cite Tien's outstanding performance in enhancing relations between the two countries. The motion was signed by over 60 members of parliament.

Altogether, the House of Commons raised eight motions during Tien's tenure in London to show support for Taiwan. The motions featured efforts ranging from supporting Taiwan's accession to the WHO and recognizing Taiwan's democratization, to raising concerns about China's military intimidation of Taiwan and calling for the EU not to lift its arms embargo against China. During his stint, Tien also signed an agreement with Jean Lemierre, president of the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), to jointly initiate two programs to help 28 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia in their transition to free-market economies.

Under the Replenishment Agreement, Taiwan pledges to donate an extra US$1 million to the EBRD's technical cooperation programs. Taiwan is the largest non-member donor to the EBRD's technical cooperation funds.

The second agreement commits Taiwan to contribute US$1.29 million to a Mongolia Cooperation Fund that will be used solely to help Mongolia develop private enterprises.

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