More than 450 British politicians, envoys of allied states and Taiwanese expatriates in the UK attended a reception at the Republic of China’s (ROC) representative office in London on Thursday to celebrate the upcoming Oct. 10 ROC National Day.
The reception was hosted by Taiwan’s envoy to the UK Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), who described ties between ROC and the UK as being long and deep.
These ties, he said, date back to ROC founder Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), who was educated in Hong Kong, where he was immersed in various political and economic schools of thought and his later seven-month stint in London that gave rise to Sun’s “Three Principles of the People,” a blueprint for political reform and democratic thinking in China.
The principles were the guidelines for the founding of the ROC, which has grown in economic, cultural and technological strength and can be a model of modern democracy to the rising mainland China, Shen said.
Trade and cultural ties between Taiwan and the UK have grown closer over the years, Shen told those in attendance, who included deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans and deputy speaker of the House of Lords Gloria Hooper.
Taiwanese visiting Britain since being allowed visa-free stays in March 2009, have neared 100,000, while the number of Taiwanese overseas students based in the UK has reached 16,000, one of the highest among students from East Asian countries, Shen said.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester, who co-chairs the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, said membership of the group has reached 100 and that it will continue to strengthen bilateral ties and back Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s representative office in Canada also held a national day reception that same day in Ottawa which was attended by over 500 dignitaries from politics, academia and industry, as well as Taiwanese expatriates.
Taiwan’s envoy to Canada, Liu Chih-kung (劉志攻), said bilateral ties have improved substantially since the early 1990s.
Two-way trade totaled US$6.67 billion last year, making Taiwan Canada’s 12th-biggest trade partner in the world, Liu said.
The number of Taiwanese traveling to Canada has grown by 15 percent since 2010, when the two sides signed an agreement on working holidays and Taiwan was admitted into Canada’s visa-waiver program, making Taiwan Canada’s seventh-largest source of visitors by country.
Liu said he is to push for an investment and trade protection deal, with the eventual aim of securing a free trade agreement with Canada.