The days of strictly political diplomacy and confrontational competition with China in the international arena are long gone, but Taiwan is capable of pursuing its diplomatic initiatives in other ways, such as ecological consultation, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (
"No one will say no to ecological and environmental protection these days," said Tien, who led an 11-member mission to St. Lucia from Nov. 25 to last Sunday to help develop its ecotourism and bird-watching infrastructure.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs-backed mission, comprised of bird-watchers and photographers, was aimed at helping the Caribbean ally establish its ecotourism routes and birding Web sites, as well as documenting bird species for a birding guide, Tien said.
During the trip, 46 bird species were documented, including St. Lucia's national bird, the St. Lucia parrot, and 25 were photographed.
Two photographers attached to the mission have extended their stays for another month.
"This is a brand new attempt for us to embrace the global trend of environmental diplomacy and preservation of biodiversity and develop our international diplomacy at the same time. There's no better place for such a mission than St. Lucia, which re-established official diplomatic ties with Taiwan on April 30," Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) said.
It is the first time the ministry has worked with non-governmental organizations on an "eco-diplomacy program," Huang said, thanking the Taiwan Sustainable Ecology Society and the Taiwan International Birding Association for their help.
What Taiwan wanted to do for its allies was drastically different from China, he said, and focused on what the people needed.
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