Taipei and Belmopan, the Belizean capital, yesterday became sister cities to boost cooperation on culture, trade, environmental issues and tourism.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Belmopan Mayor Khalid Belisle signed an agreement in Taipei to formalize the link.
Forming a sister-city tie with Taipei represents an important milestone in the process of deepening the friendship between Taiwan and Belize, one of the nation’s 17 diplomatic allies, Belisle said.
During his four years as mayor, he visited many nations and discovered that many cities encounter similar problems, the 38-year-old mayor said.
He realized that Belmopan can learn from other cities, as each have their own strengths, Belisle said, citing Taipei’s excellent public transportation system as something worth learning from.
Ko praised Belize as a small and beautiful country rich in biodiversity, and home to the largest barrier reef systems in the Western Hemisphere along with rainforests and Mayan ruins.
The Belizean embassy participated in the Taipei Lantern Festival for the first time in February with lanterns depicting the Great Blue Hole, a giant marine sinkhole off the coast of Belize, Ko said, adding that the lanterns were well-received.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the Central American nation.
With a population more than 20,000, Belmopan is the fastest-growing population center in Belize, according to the city’s Web site.
Taipei has formed sister-city ties with 49 cities since establishing the first such tie with Houston, Texas, in 1961, the Taipei City Government said.
Since Ko took office in 2014, Taipei has formed sister-city ties with Wellington; Castries, St Lucia; Quito and Belmopan.
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