Macau formally opened a representative office in Taipei yesterday, giving the special administrative region a greater presence here that it expects will deepen trade, tourism, cultural and education ties with Taiwan.
Alexis Tam Chon Weng (譚俊榮), chief of cabinet of the Office of the Chief Executive in Macau, said at the inauguration ceremony that the opening of the Macau Economic and Cultural Office was more than just “a joyous occasion for people from Macau and Taiwan.”
“It is also an important milestone in the development of closer, mutually beneficial and peaceful relations between the two sides,” Tam said.
He said the representative office will promote economic, cultural, travel, education, sports and health cooperation between Macau and Taiwan and provide services for Macanese working, studying, living or traveling in Taiwan.
The office will also help Macanese in Taiwan cope with emergencies and will cooperate with Taiwanese authorities in cracking down on crime, Tam said.
The Macau and Hong Kong special administrative regions have been preparing for the opening of offices in Taiwan since December last year because of their growing exchanges with the nation.
The Macau office will be headed by Nadia Leong (梁潔芝), while John Leung (梁志仁) is due to become director of the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office when it opens tomorrow.
Leong, Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Zhang Yu (張裕) and representatives from Macau’s education, culture and travel sectors were among those attending the opening ceremony.
Yen Chung-kuang (嚴重光), director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Department under the Mainland Affairs Council, said there are currently more than 4,300 students from Macau in Taiwan, the most of any overseas contingent, and around 60,000 Macanese visited Taiwan last year.
He said the figures reflect the close relationship between the two, and noted that Taiwan hopes to strengthen cooperation with Macau on air travel, crimefighting and cultural and creative industries.
Officials said the Macau office, which will be located in the Taipei 101 building, will have a staff of between 10 and 15 people.
Though people from Hong Kong and Macau have visited and done business in Taiwan for years, they have not had official presences here because of tensions between Taipei and Beijing.