Thu, Aug 30, 2018 - Page 4 News List

YouTuber to visit each of nation’s diplomatic allies

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwanese YouTuber Ben Wu (吳宇堯) is to visit to all of the nation’s diplomatic allies, a personal project that has received support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after he wrote to it asking for advice.

The journey has nothing to do with politics, nor is it an effort to support the government’s move to solidify bilateral ties, instead it grew from a very simple thought, he said.

“There is nothing political about this project, as I have always wanted to travel to those less-visited places and introduce them to my subscribers from a personal view as a traveler,” Wu said on Friday last week. “I wondered what these countries, which most Taiwanese have not visited, actually look like.”

He said he believes that many foreigners have the same feeling about Taiwan when they first hear about the nation, which in the minds of many is easily confused with Thailand.

Following that simple idea, the 24-year-old, who has been a full-time YouTuber since March after completing his compulsory military service late last year, is scheduled to travel to six diplomatic allies in the Pacific — Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu — from Monday next week to Oct. 17.

Following the 45-day Pacific tour, he is to head to Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in Africa, eSwatini, formerly known as the Kingdom of Swaziland, in November.

Next year, he is to visit the nine Latin American and Caribbean allies and the only diplomatic ally in Europe, the Vatican.

As the trip to the Pacific islands would cost NT$90,000 in airfare alone, Wu is now raising funds via online crowdfunding.

Wu said he plans to introduce tourist spots in the allied nations during his trips.

He is also to visit Taiwan’s embassies and technical missions and include them in videos he plans to post on his YouTube channel.

Before embarking on the trips, Wu said he wrote to the ministry to ask for advice and was surprised when officials wrote back and even invited him to drop by.

The ministry has been very supportive of the project, Wu said, adding that officials asked to give him an in-depth briefing on the diplomatic allies before his travels.

The ministry also promised to contact embassies in each country so that they can provide any help he might need, he added.

The ministry supports Wu’s project as part of a more diverse and modern approach to diplomacy that makes it more accessible to the public, especially young people, ministry spokesperson Andrew Lee (李憲章) said.

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